Design Knowledge Intermediary

Teneo Filing and Storage System, 2008
Herman Miller, USA

Ayse Birsel & Bibi Seck

Wood, metal, with high gloss or metallic finishes


W 43/178 cm, H 66/178 cm, D 56 cm


"The starting point of Teneo," say designers Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, "was challenging the storage archetype and saying, 'Well, why can't we do this any other way?'" They answered their question by looking at storage from an entirely new perspective.

After examining storage needs in today's complex workplaces, they concluded that the traditional storage archetype - the metal box - represented a good but limited solution. So they deconstructed a metal box to identify its elements - what holds it upright; how it organizes, contains, and secures its contents; and what provides enclosure.

To reconstruct storage into something more versatile, Birsel and Seck broke it down into three distinct parts: structure, utility, and cladding. The structure - the ring - is the same for all pieces; utility could be shelves, drawers, and doors; and the cladding - the skin - could be any number of materials, from metal and veneer to cork and felt.

When they reassembled the elements, they took a systemic approach. The structure, utility, and cladding elements can be combined in many ways to create numerous products that put the user at the heart of the design.

- www.hermanmiller.com