Interesting To Me: Allsteel Acuity Chair
BarryBlog posts on ideas, issues and objects that are really all over the map. This is a reflection of who I am as a thinker, a designer, a christian, and is how I originally envisioned the blog from day one. I post on things which have caught my attention and which I find interesting and at times important. Things I observe by intention, by happenstance, by referral, or by The Spirit, as a way and a place to file interesting things away for future consideration. And for you too, if you find them interesting. The feedback I get in these regards has always been a high point of the process.
The last few months I've been posting less, but with more frequency regarding my flea market finds and the collection I am curating 50 cents at a time via St. Vincent DePaul, Goodwill and other local flea market haunts. Judging by my stats, this is less interesting to some, though ironically my core reader still remains rather solid. It is always fun to see which posts spike readership, but I never set out to gain a following or to boost readership. In fact my blog can best be summed up by a quote from Samuel Butler from The Way of All Flesh which I discovered in reading my book by Herman Miller called "Notes on Attention" by Ralph Caplan."
"The literacy instinct may be known by man's keeping a small notebook in his waistcoat pocket, onto which he jots down anything that strikes him, or any good thing that he hears said, or a reference he thinks will come in useful to him." (I would add: "Or to you").One thing I never tire of and always find interesting is contract and residential furniture. Furniture industry insider I am not, but having grown up in Mid-Michigan in a small design boutique that was furnished predominately in Herman Miller, then calling Grand Rapids home for a few years as a communication designer, I have developed a passion for contract furniture. All furniture really. I always seem to find incredible furniture and decorative art finds at garage sale prices, which has only fueled by desire to learn more. Perhaps it's learning I enjoy mostly about furniture, not the finds themselves. Maybe that could be another blog post.
Anyway, what I really appreciate the most about the furniture design industry is the leadership role it has earned in the overall design landscape. Furniture design is approached holistically, and design is considered and relied upon at every level of thinking— from the board room to the retail floor. Those who have followed BarryBlog know the business of design is an issue that's been discussed here frequently.
All that to say, the new Allsteel Acuity chair has caught my attention. In a big way. Mainly because of all it isn't. It sits quietly and expectantly for it's user to draw near. In my estimation, the chair's personality takes on the personality of the user, not visa versa.
In some ways I see the Allsteel Acuity chair more representative of Audi than BMW, if you will. The Acuity does what it says, the Aeron says what it does.You get the picture. Do understand I am a major Herman Miller fan, but like the Aeron, I see the Allsteel Acuity chair in a really small group of excellent products. Perhaps the reason this chair is so excellent, and has so little, is because of Bruce Fifield at Continuum. According to Allsteel's president Eugene Sung, Bruce is a relative newcomer to chair design. I have always been a relative newcomer to each industry I have designed for, and often find this to be a distinct advantage. Mainly because of so little preconception. But as always, you must have a client who trusts your intuition, instinct and voice. After seeing Continnum's previous work, I can see how this would not have been a stretch for Sung.
In reference to paying attention, and to all that this chair is not, here is a great quote by Ralph Caplan from the same publication On Attention I referenced earlier in this post...
"Pay attention so that people are free to attend to what they care about. Ironically, though, the freest societies invariably create environments that militate against attention. Visual pollution is harmful not just because it is ugly but because it is distractive. And therefore destructive. Like other pollution, it destroys the balance of nature–in this case, human nature. A climate loaded with designs clamoring for your attention is a climate in which you end up paying attention to nothing."Bravo Eugene and Bruce and team. Thanks for paying attention. It made a connection. With me, anyway. And that's why it's on BarryBlog.
Labels: Aeron, Allsteel Acuity Chair, Aquity, BarryBlog, Design Continuum, design value, Eugene Sung, Federico Ferretti, Furniture, Grand Rapids, Herman Miller, Notes on Attention, Ralph Caplan, Samuel Butler