Posts Tagged ‘Tomoko Miho’

Unsinkable Brown

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

unknown, Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Recently, a client asked for brown as a color option on a project. A couple of years ago, I would have resisted. But, brown has slowly been creeping into my mind. First, I found myself admiring the brown tile at the Honolulu Airport. Then, I decided I should move away from my earthquake safe Melmac dinnerware. So, I bought several settings of Heath Ceramics dinnerware.

The Heath colors are subtle, subtle and subtle. Seeing one brown combined with cream or tan plate convinced me that brown could be alright. Some of my favorite design solutions are brown. Does this mean I’m mellowing, or developing, God forbid, good taste? I still resist any attempt to put brown in bathrooms. Brown wall, tiles, fixtures, or accessories should never be used there. I won’t go into details, but how do you know if someone previously had an “episode” in the bathroom if everything isn’t bright white?

Heath Ceramics dinnerware


Heath Ceramics, plate colors


tile, Honolulu Airport


Reid Miles, Blowin' Country


Tomoko Miho, Nieman Marcus packaging, 1960s


Paul Rand, Idea magazine, 1955


Josef Muller-Brockmann, concert poster, 1955


Saul Bass, Bonjour Tristesse poster, 1959


Will Burtin, Scope magazine, 1951


A bad brown bathroom, 1977


Tales of Gods and Heroes

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Tomoko Miho, poster, 65 Bridges to New York, 1967.

Whenever Noreen and I have attended a conference together, or spoken together (which is rare), she is surrounded by a coterie of fans. Of course, I’m typically waving and shouting, “I’m over here!” She’s always excited to meet new people, but isn’t so good at hearing compliments. Hard to believe, but she’s rather humble. The one compliment she has the most trouble accepting is when a young Asian woman tells her that she is her hero. This happens often. If I were a young Asian woman, I would say the same thing. I understand the issue, being someone’s hero, or ideal is a lot of pressure. One wrong word, and, bam, it’s over.

I remind Noreen that she said the same thing when she was starting out to Tomoko Miho. Whenever I see the movie, Two For the Road, with Audrey Hepburn, I think about Tomoko Miho. In the 1960s, she and the remarkable Jim Miho spent half a year touring Europe in a silver Porsche. They visited designers and must have been the chicest people in every restaurant or little village.

Miho’s work is lucid, minimal, true to international style modernism, and speaks with clarity. But it also allows for spontaneity and the unexpected. In her words, she “Joins space and substance. It is that harmony that creates the ringing clarity of statement that we sense as an experience, as a meaningful whole, as a oneness-as good design.” And, of course, she was Noreen’s hero.

Tomoko Miho, poster Great Architecture in Chicago, 1967.

Tomoko Miho, early 1950s

Tomoko Miho, poster and symbol, Omniplan Architects, Dallas, 1971

Tomoko Miho, poster for Champion Paper, 1971

Tomoko Miho, poster, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, 1978.

Tomoko Miho, poster National Air and Space Museum, 1976

Tomoko Miho, packaging design, Neiman Marcus, 1972

Audrey Hepburn, Two for the Road, 1967