Yesterday evening we went to a talk at the Herman Miller showroom here in Atlanta and the event was as well-organized, beautifully catered, and as chic as can be expected from Herman Miller, but turned out to be much more than the usual industry event.
The speaker, Hilda Longinotti, was witty, entertaining, amusing, perfectly indiscrete and a total delight. She kept the audience spellbound for for nearly an hour, after which she had the grace to allow most of the male members of the audience including me to be photographed with her on the Marshmallow settee. Not for her the obligatory lateness and then the rush for the door after questions - she really enjoyed her audience enjoying her.
Above you can see signed invitation to the event and she is in both photos. First, she was used as the model (for free, she pointed out) to sit on the newly developed Marshmallow settee and again years later when it was reissued.
Ms Longinotti's association with Herman Miller began in the 1950s when she was employed as George Nelson's secretary, or as he called her his aide-de-camp. George Nelson was then Herman Miller's consulting director of design. In the seventies she joined Herman Miller in showroom sales and eventually after developing a pilot program for strengthening ties to the design community, she was appointed to Manager, Design Programs.
Her list of achievements is long as is her list of awards and her joy in life was deeply felt, judging by its reactions, by her audience.
The photograph below taken from my i-phone shows the dais, the speaker and the wonderful roof structure of the Herman Miller showroom in the old Puritan Mill complex. Most showrooms are beautiful, they're designed to be after all, but the Herman Miller space is that perfect and romantic combination of contemporary design and industrial (soap factory) architecture.
And that Eames lounger in misty blue-grey matte leather - OMG!