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Today, Herman Miller and Grace Farms Foundation introduced a limited-edition, ethically manufactured face mask, with proceeds supporting Design for Freedom, a new movement to eradicate modern slavery from the building materials supply chain. The release of the mask coincides with National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Designed in collaboration with architects Shohei Yoshida, Principal of shohei yoshida + associates / sy+a and formerly of SANAA, and Peter Miller, Founding Partner of Palette Architecture and formerly of Handel Architects, the Design for Freedom face mask is inspired by the internationally award-winning SANAA-designed River building at Grace Farms, which features an iconic undulating roof that reflects light differently throughout the day and in response to the weather. The custom outer layer fabric is woven with silvery-like thread in KIRYU-ori brocade style, a Japanese textile tradition cultivated over more than 1,000 years. The artisanal weave creates a subtle gradient pattern and soft luminescent appearance that shifts according to light, direction, and the texture of the fabric. To reduce waste, the excess material cut to make the mask will be reused through Grace Farms’ programming. The architects created the design pro bono to support the initiative.
“The Design for Freedom face mask shows what’s possible when visionary leaders—like Herman Miller, Shohei Yoshida, and Peter Miller— bring their expertise to the table and collaborate to advance good,” said Sharon Prince, the CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation, who spearheaded the Design for Freedom movement. “Human life and human dignity are at risk every day, and most people are unaware of the forced labor in the building materials supply chain. It is our hope that those who wear this face mask will shine a light on the issue of forced labor and create opportunities for change.”
Grace Farms brought together architects, designers, manufacturers, and suppliers to produce the masks with an ethical and sustainable lens. The components of the mask represent complex raw material supply chains that the architecture, engineering, and construction industries navigate at scale.
Herman Miller and Design Within Reach are the exclusive retailers of the Design for Freedom face mask. The limited-edition, custom-designed face mask will retail for $30 and is available through Herman Miller’s online store. Additionally, Design for Freedom face masks are being worn by Performance Specialists in Herman Miller’s new stores in Austin, New York City, and Los Angeles and by Account Executives in Design Within Reach stores.
100% of the proceeds will fund research and programs to move toward building slave-free.
“At Herman Miller, we design for the good of humankind. We believe in using business as a force for good and throughout our history have been at the forefront of creating industry standards for a better world. We’re proud to be associated with Design for Freedom and are committed to working with our stakeholders to ensure the development of an ethical supply chain, within the ecosystem of the built environment,” said Debbie Propst, President, Herman Miller Retail.
Although slavery is illegal in every country, it persists in various forms, from human trafficking to the forced labor that is pervasive in the construction industry and building materials supply chain. Grace Farms Foundation launched the Design for Freedom movement with industry leaders such as Herman Miller to remove forced labor from the built environment. A new report and website, designforfreedom.org, recently launched to bring awareness to the issue and initiate industry responses.
Your purchase of our ethically-manufactured Design for Freedom face mask, released in partnership with Herman Miller and Design Within Reach, will help to advance our movement to eliminate forced labor in the built environment.