Rest and Concentration in the Workplace

Cranbrook Academy of Art's collaboration with Herman Miller explores the modern office


Today’s laptops, tablets and smartphones have enabled workers to be more flexible in defining when, where and how they get their jobs done. While offices are still quite important for many, the way they’re set-up is ripe for evolution. An increased emphasis on community and teamwork is also at play—potentially at the cost of privacy and concentration. To consider solutions for this conundrum Herman Miller recently asked students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art to find the proper balance between group interaction and personal space in the modern office.


Rest and Concentration in the Workplace” is the result of sixteen Cranbrook students considering how to foster calmness and focus for individual workers while balancing group unity with personal space. Working closely with Herman Miller, whose product development teams offered critique, the two-semester collaboration resulted in the selection of six pieces for display at this year’s ICFF. The pieces were constructed with the aid of Herman Miller’s engineering team and local upholstery and fabrication vendors.


Pieces of note from the collection include the Integrated Workstation, which takes the basic components of a workstation and adds a daybed, and the Private Rocker, which uses high sides to give the chair an intimate, focused feel plus the added benefit of noise cancellation.


Although produced in close collaboration with Herman Miller, the students retain the rights to their own designs. We’re hoping these get commercialized sometime soon.