Herman Miller / case study: Benny Gold
Ask anyone in the design community what they think of Herman Miller and their eyes will light up. They are, without question, one of the most influential furniture companies of modernist style. Every design student studies the design philosophy and aesthetic of Herman Miller and their most well known designers Charles and Ray Eames--they are legends within the design community. So when Herman Miller approached us to feature the BGhangar as a case study, I was ecstatic.
Below is a small excerpt on the case study and feature that is now live on the Herman Miller site.
Years before Benny Gold existed as the global streetwear fashion brand, there was just Benny Gold, the graphic artist, plastering a decal he designed as a side project around his beloved adopted hometown of San Francisco. That sticker—a stylized image of a paper airplane paired with the phrase “Stay Gold”—was a message from Benny Gold (the artist) to himself, a reminder not to get worn out by the long hours and frequent self-doubt common among young creative people working at their first corporate job. And with that message, the spirit of Benny Gold (the brand) was born.
“No one tells you in art school that design is actually real work,” Gold says. “But you get out there, and it seriously is work. So I felt like I was getting beat down inside and I made the sticker to try to remember why I’m here and why I’m doing this.”
Benny moved to San Francisco the day after receiving his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1998. Talent plus hustle opened doors for him at some of the Bay Area’s top design firms and ad agencies. Benny Gold (the brand) started taking shape through side projects Gold worked on at night or on weekends.
As demand grew for the stickers and graphic T-shirts Gold produced in his spare time, he started investing more time in building his brand into a business. Around 2008, inventory had begun to overwhelm his house. “The T-shirt business started getting bigger and bigger and my home office got cluttered with product,” Gold says. “When it spilled out into the dining room and eventually the living room, my wife was like, ‘You’ve got to get all of this stuff out of here.’ So I started looking for a space.”
Requirements for that first space were fairly straightforward. Gold needed office space to do design work—both for his own projects as well as select jobs for corporate clients, which he continued to take on until 2010—and warehouse space to house inventory. A retail storefront wasn’t originally in the plan.
The renovation played up the history of the space, with pawnshop-inspired window signage reimagined through Gold’s ever-youthful point of view. Inside, a busy team of employees—most of them also family or longtime friends—runs the show. At any given time, orders might be shipping out the front door while salespeople work the phones, looking to increase penetration for the brand’s already global wholesale market. At a work table in the back room, Gold and a small team of designers may be working on graphics for next season’s shirt designs while his wife, Hiromi, manages day-to-day operations. Herman Miller Setu multipurpose chairs provide the perfect blend of style and versatility to support these diverse activities.
Gold first learned about Herman Miller in design school. “When you have a design background, I think you’re drawn to well-designed stuff,” Gold said. “We’ve changed offices three or four times now, but we’ve always had Herman Miller chairs.”
Click here to see the entire feature and a huge thank you to the Herman Miller team for the opportunity and years of inspiration!