Industrial Facility in Herman Miller’s Why Design Series

For those of you who weren’t aware, your editors — Jill and Monica — are based in New York, where a massive tropical storm is bearing down today with increasing intensity. Jill is safe in the East Village with her family, while Monica fled her Brooklyn apartment for a world of luxurious denial at the Ace Hotel in midtown, where her friend is staying and where the Breslin will be churning out burgers and fries for the duration of the hurricane. Regardless, the serious conditions outside are obviously demanding most of our attention at the moment, so we can only offer a quick dispatch to jump-start the week: a behind-the-scenes video interview (below) with Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of the London design studio Industrial Facility, whose Muji-approved strain of functional minimalism is as beloved as the collection of regional everyday objects featured in their book with Rizzoli last year.

While the book served to catalog the couple’s travels around the globe, the video — part of Herman Miller’s ongoing Why Design series — sees them reflecting on the world just outside their front door, and how it influences their work in small but important ways. Colin, for example, hikes to the top of nearby Primrose Hill whenever she needs a reminder to put things in context and not “get bogged down in the nitty gritty.” Hecht likes how often London teeters on the brink of dysfunctionality, and how it provides the perfect background to design things that work especially well. “I have a soft spot for this place because it’s so uncoordinated and unresolved, so there’s is this great sense of constant potential,” he says.

Herman Miller launched the Why Design project in September, in order to “explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view.” Other profiles in the series include Yves Béhar (“Surfing Is Like Improvisational Jazz”) and Irving Harper (“Paper Is a Versatile Medium”). Watch them all via this link, then check back with Sight Unseen later in the week when — provided we have power — we’ll return to regular coverage once Sandy blows over. To everyone on the East Coast, be safe!