Hopscotch Design Festival gets back to basics with Herman Miller's Steve Frykholm | Arts

Hopscotch Design Festival gets back to basics with Herman Miller's Steve Frykholm

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A good crowd gathered to see Herman Miller veteran Steve Frykholm at Hopscotch Design. - PHOTO BY JON LEON
  • photo by Jon Leon
  • A good crowd gathered to see Herman Miller veteran Steve Frykholm at Hopscotch Design.
Iconic furniture manufacturer Herman Miller’s design pedigree requires no introduction, but just in case: think Eames, Nelson, Noguchi and the ubiquitous Aeron chair (the company claims to produce one every 17 seconds).

For me, Steve Frykholm, Herman Miller’s Vice President of Creative Design, added real credibility to the Hopscotch Design Festival, which wraps up today. He was the warmest, wisest, most intelligent speaker I saw yesterday.

Frykholm, an AIGA Medalist, is a designer to the core. His company picnic posters belong to MoMA’s permanent collection. Outfitted in a colorful, checked button-down and bushy gray beard, he offered some design advice he’d picked up over the course of his 45 years with Herman Miller.

Essential, deceptively obvious nuggets such as “be open to serendipity,” “guardian angels can save a good idea” and “tell your client why you like your design” could come only from someone who has achieved mastery in his or her field. Indeed, Frykholm’s legendary annual reports are some of the most nuanced and copied examples in the canon of business aesthetics.

Another notable presenter was Ilias Papageorgiou of New York-based SO-IL, an intellectually rigorous architecture firm that designed Benetton’s Fifth Avenue flagship, Derek Lam’s Soho atelier and a smattering of thoughtful cultural buildings around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and Kukje Gallery in Seoul.

SO-IL and Frykholm’s museum-quality work and the clarity of their presentations gave the festival a spirit of innovation and strength that was needed to make up for weaknesses elsewhere. Next year, the inclusion of more "designers’ designers," such as these, could give Hopscotch Design a more refined sense of purpose.


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