Contract - Environmental Extraordinaire: Herman Miller LEED Showroom Raises the Bar

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Environmental Extraordinaire: Herman Miller LEED Showroom Raises the Bar

19 April, 2010

-By Holly Richmond



When is the “gold standard” just not good enough? Ask Steve Clem, principal of tvsdesign, based in Atlanta, and he will tell you it is when the bar is raised to platinum. As the lead designer on Herman Miller’s new Los Angeles showroom, Clem quickly discerned that green ideas and great expectations must go hand in hand. “Environmental stewardship was vital,” says Clem. “We knew a first-of-its-kind showcase for quality design, beautiful products, and all-encompassing sustainability was possible, and we went for it.”

“Went for it,” they did, entirely transforming a 1956, 18,000-sq.-ft. warehouse into the city’s first LEED CI Platinum-certified building. Not only is the project a boon for Herman Miller and tvsdesign, but the local Los Angeles community is benefiting, as well. Lance Williams, Ph.D., executive director of the USGBC’s Los Angeles chapter, grew up not far from the site and believes the building will add exponentially to the area’s revitalization. “This project is a recognition of good sense. It is important to spread the word and support this message, particularly in places that often are underserved. There is no excuse for not making change,” he states emphatically.

Located in south Los Angeles on the edge of Culver City, the showroom is encouraging further growth—with a green conscience—to an area that has experienced an upsurge in development over the past 10 years. Trendy restaurants, organic cafés, chic clothing boutiques, and innovative small businesses have replaced dilapidated storefronts and abandoned buildings. Still considered an up-and-coming locale, Herman Miller believed it was the ideal place to reestablish its presence in Los Angeles. “We were very intentional in our purpose,” remarks Lori Gee, director of workplace solutions for Herman Miller, based in Holland, Mich. “Our green showrooms demonstrate our way of thinking about what is possible for spaces and products, and how those two things work together.”

This showroom represents the 14th project that the Herman Miller team has developed to meet LEED certification criteria. Nine are Gold certified, and this is the company’s first Platinum certification. Gee and her team recognized the showroom’s draw for Southern California, but also realized its potential attraction to clients from around the globe. She and Clem worked closely to transform what was once a cavernous, cold space into a “green dream” that not only showcases beautiful product, but the company’s vision for the future. It was conceptualized as a platform for education and discovery from both a product and sustainability perspective, leading clients through a holistic journey of great design and equally commendable business principles.

The original space was composed of two adjacent warehouse rooms separated by a concrete wall, and the bowstring wood trusses had minimal structural capacity to support display components. It was necessary to create a contiguous space that could be easily reconfigured to host a variety of events for client and community use. “The focus was on innovation, yet we wanted to tie in the integrity, creativity, and craftsmanship for which Herman Miller is known,” Clem says. This was accomplished through the use of rich woods (a nod to Charles and Ray Eames and their iconic designs), elements of the company’s headquarters in Michigan including a client-friendly Parlor Room, floating aluminum walls that showcase Herman Miller’s logo, and other design elements that communicate the company’s brand.

A tranquil exterior courtyard transitions clients seamlessly into the glass-front showroom, where they are greeted with a natural material vocabulary featuring FSC-certified wood veneer for paneled walls and millwork components. The large space presents a multitude of intimate zones and rooms that serve as wayfinding elements, in a sense, to meet each individual client’s needs, yet also offer a comprehensive design sensibility. “We developed the identity in the courtyard with a floating aluminum wall, using its form and flow to set up the dynamic of the three-dimensional designs within the space,” Clem explains.

Clem and his team shaped the interior by selectively removing sections of the original concrete wall, which created impact and a layered quality to the overall showroom. “Transparency was key,” Clem remarks. “Almost every aspect of the design was conceptualized to define boundaries without being dominating. The curved walls, reconfigurable elements, and ample use of glass walls and windows for the infusion of natural daylight lets users know that innovation and change is infinitely possible.”

Gee concurs with Clem, and believes the connectedness of the space—both in the design and its environmental mission—is powerful. “Everything has a balance yet nothing is boring. The space is very experiential,” she says. She is extremely pleased with the building’s sustainable features that address reduced emissions and unnecessary waste, as well as Herman Miller’s proprietary networked system (which is visible to guests) that controls heating, cooling, lighting, plug loads and daylight leveraging, among other environmental measures. Gee reports that the company has reduced lighting use by 60 percent and overall energy use by 35 percent.

Clem and Gee also agree that the showroom reinforces the company’s reputation for beautiful spaces and furniture, but here, in this first LEED CI Platinum-certified space, beauty is much more than skin deep. Gee concludes proudly, “There is sustainability at every level, internal mobility for functionality, and the holistic use of space for clients and the community. It is a great place for ideas to grow.”


Environmental Extraordinaire: Herman Miller LEED Showroom Raises the Bar

19 April, 2010


Brian Gassel, tvsdesign

When is the “gold standard” just not good enough? Ask Steve Clem, principal of tvsdesign, based in Atlanta, and he will tell you it is when the bar is raised to platinum. As the lead designer on Herman Miller’s new Los Angeles showroom, Clem quickly discerned that green ideas and great expectations must go hand in hand. “Environmental stewardship was vital,” says Clem. “We knew a first-of-its-kind showcase for quality design, beautiful products, and all-encompassing sustainability was possible, and we went for it.”

“Went for it,” they did, entirely transforming a 1956, 18,000-sq.-ft. warehouse into the city’s first LEED CI Platinum-certified building. Not only is the project a boon for Herman Miller and tvsdesign, but the local Los Angeles community is benefiting, as well. Lance Williams, Ph.D., executive director of the USGBC’s Los Angeles chapter, grew up not far from the site and believes the building will add exponentially to the area’s revitalization. “This project is a recognition of good sense. It is important to spread the word and support this message, particularly in places that often are underserved. There is no excuse for not making change,” he states emphatically.

Located in south Los Angeles on the edge of Culver City, the showroom is encouraging further growth—with a green conscience—to an area that has experienced an upsurge in development over the past 10 years. Trendy restaurants, organic cafés, chic clothing boutiques, and innovative small businesses have replaced dilapidated storefronts and abandoned buildings. Still considered an up-and-coming locale, Herman Miller believed it was the ideal place to reestablish its presence in Los Angeles. “We were very intentional in our purpose,” remarks Lori Gee, director of workplace solutions for Herman Miller, based in Holland, Mich. “Our green showrooms demonstrate our way of thinking about what is possible for spaces and products, and how those two things work together.”

This showroom represents the 14th project that the Herman Miller team has developed to meet LEED certification criteria. Nine are Gold certified, and this is the company’s first Platinum certification. Gee and her team recognized the showroom’s draw for Southern California, but also realized its potential attraction to clients from around the globe. She and Clem worked closely to transform what was once a cavernous, cold space into a “green dream” that not only showcases beautiful product, but the company’s vision for the future. It was conceptualized as a platform for education and discovery from both a product and sustainability perspective, leading clients through a holistic journey of great design and equally commendable business principles.

The original space was composed of two adjacent warehouse rooms separated by a concrete wall, and the bowstring wood trusses had minimal structural capacity to support display components. It was necessary to create a contiguous space that could be easily reconfigured to host a variety of events for client and community use. “The focus was on innovation, yet we wanted to tie in the integrity, creativity, and craftsmanship for which Herman Miller is known,” Clem says. This was accomplished through the use of rich woods (a nod to Charles and Ray Eames and their iconic designs), elements of the company’s headquarters in Michigan including a client-friendly Parlor Room, floating aluminum walls that showcase Herman Miller’s logo, and other design elements that communicate the company’s brand.

A tranquil exterior courtyard transitions clients seamlessly into the glass-front showroom, where they are greeted with a natural material vocabulary featuring FSC-certified wood veneer for paneled walls and millwork components. The large space presents a multitude of intimate zones and rooms that serve as wayfinding elements, in a sense, to meet each individual client’s needs, yet also offer a comprehensive design sensibility. “We developed the identity in the courtyard with a floating aluminum wall, using its form and flow to set up the dynamic of the three-dimensional designs within the space,” Clem explains.

Clem and his team shaped the interior by selectively removing sections of the original concrete wall, which created impact and a layered quality to the overall showroom. “Transparency was key,” Clem remarks. “Almost every aspect of the design was conceptualized to define boundaries without being dominating. The curved walls, reconfigurable elements, and ample use of glass walls and windows for the infusion of natural daylight lets users know that innovation and change is infinitely possible.”

Gee concurs with Clem, and believes the connectedness of the space—both in the design and its environmental mission—is powerful. “Everything has a balance yet nothing is boring. The space is very experiential,” she says. She is extremely pleased with the building’s sustainable features that address reduced emissions and unnecessary waste, as well as Herman Miller’s proprietary networked system (which is visible to guests) that controls heating, cooling, lighting, plug loads and daylight leveraging, among other environmental measures. Gee reports that the company has reduced lighting use by 60 percent and overall energy use by 35 percent.

Clem and Gee also agree that the showroom reinforces the company’s reputation for beautiful spaces and furniture, but here, in this first LEED CI Platinum-certified space, beauty is much more than skin deep. Gee concludes proudly, “There is sustainability at every level, internal mobility for functionality, and the holistic use of space for clients and the community. It is a great place for ideas to grow.”
 


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