A contest sponsored by General Motors introduced Jerome Caruso to industrial design at an early age. His entry, a futuristic concept car, not only earned an award for the 12-year-old Caruso, it directed his education and career for the next five decades.
After graduate studies at the University of Copenhagen, Caruso opened his own industrial design practice in Brussels, where he worked with clients from across Europe. As a one-man studio, Caruso got into the habit of taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of a project. Since returning to the U.S. years later, he’s worked with numerous American brands in addition to Herman Miller, most notably Sub-Zero, pioneers of the built-in refrigerator. Over 20 years as that company’s only industrial designer, Caruso helped Sub-Zero and its sister brand Wolf transform kitchen appliances into status symbols.
Today, with more than 75 design patents to his credit, Caruso still functions as a one-man studio where he does it all—concepts, drawings, prototypes, and engineering. "The bigger the challenge,” he says, “the more fun it is to work out the solution.”
If that’s the case, the process of designing the Celle Chair for Herman Miller must have been quite a challenge, since Caruso has called the project the “Mt. Everest of fun.” Celle’s patented Cellular Suspension system began with Caruso’s vision of an “intelligent” surface made up of hundreds of tiny cells that could flex to support different areas of the body. After years of development, prototyping, and refinement, the material works exactly as Caruso imagined it.
Based just outside his native Chicago, Ill., Caruso is still doing the type of work he fell in love with as a 12-year-old boy. "My goal has always been to bring function and art together in products that perform superbly and look great," he says.
Jerome Caruso Design International
Lake Forest, Illinois
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