Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From Herms to Hermès

Debra Hamel's The Mutilation of the Herms has recently come out in paperback. Before reading this book I had never come across the term 'Herms' before. To me, the name Hermès was associated with French silk scarves, but I was wondering if I could find a connection as a kind of thought experiment.

Looking at the suitably elaborately-designed Hermès website I discovered that there is a 'Prix Emile Hermès' prize for young designers. In 2011 the theme was 'Heat, Me-Heat, Re-Heat' and on the website there is a page demonstrating the winners. It's worth a look. Several of these were small cuboid structures, so in overall appearance (if not design or function) there was indeed a connection between the Herms and the Hermès. The Hermès designs were for ecological stoves and other heating devices; whereas the the Herms of ancient Greece were territorial markers - but these too were destined to raise a few temperatures.


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