A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Hump Day Cool Finger: Wooden Tops from Herman Miller Select


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For this week’s Hump Day Cool Finger, rather than pour over the rampant osmosis between artistic and commercial fields we’d like to celebrate an artful application of craft to an area of commercialism that in addition to being one of the most monstrous and poorly regulated is typically saturated by plastics and reprehensibly lax production standards that exaggerate the disposable inclinations entrenched in western society.

We are talking about children’s toys. With Christmas just around the corner anyone with kids, a TV and a conscience will already be launching a preemptive strike against a day of tantrums due to a lack of poly-formed crap courtesy of old saint Nick. Children are sadly a main target for advertisers. As the modern school system keeps kids consuming into their late teens and jobs driven by the need to consume turn otherwise happy adults into dissatisfied life long consumers the advertisers, in their hideousness, are taking the opportunity to get to us while we are young, impressionable and cute enough to warrant the granting of our every wish.

Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.” – Charles Eames

Thankfully the Herman Miller Company, whose Eames Chair and Ottoman we featured on a Hump Day Cool Finger not to long ago, have recently launched a line of spinning tops under Herman Miller Select designed by KleinReid in New York City. The spinning tops, both classic toys and kinetic art, hark to our parent’s generation or Waldorf toys, which along with the educational style they represent are thankfully making a comeback.


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Today many alternative forms of education are concerned solely with keeping the natural interest in learning intact as opposed to just burning out neurons to pass tests. In a vein comparable to the ethos of unschooling where by children learn through play, Herman Miller believe that play enables us to think in different ways and that innovation and problem solving are part of our DNA. Their products have always sought to add a certain sense of luxury, comfort, and homeliness to the work place, blurring boundaries between work and play, making people more relaxed, creative and bringing inspiration to staff who in any other circumstance would likely be less effective. With the appearance of luxury truffles this collection of three wooden tops, each with an original sculptural profile, each crafted of walnut, each inspired by Eames, are clearly marketed to adults, however, the idea behind them has a universal application and if it weren’t for our addiction, or rather our greed which has caused our very children to be addicted to bright colors, loud noises, flashing lights and even violence then they might have a universal appeal too.

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This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.

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Hump Day Cool Finger: Wooden Tops from Herman Miller Select