Caruso refined his design sensibilities in Europe in the 1960s. While a graduate student at the University of Copenhagen, he also worked at that city's premier design office. "There was a sensitive approach to European design that made an indelible impression on me," he recalls.
With more than 75 design patents to his credit, Caruso takes a hands-on approach and enjoys doing it all—concepts, drawings, prototypes, and engineering. "The bigger the challenge, the more fun it is to work out the solution," he says. He's especially intrigued with chairs and vividly recalls the challenge of Herman Miller's high-performance, award-winning Reaction chair, which he designed with his son, Steven.
But Herman Miller's Celle chair, he smiles, was the "Mt. Everest of fun. At the beginning, I imagined a highly engineered, 'intelligent' surface that could be the ultimate in seating comfort. I envisioned hundreds of tiny 'cells'—each one consisting of a pad with spring-like loops that would both support and respond to different anatomical areas." And after years of development and experimentation, the Celle chair closely follows that original concept.
Today, from his spacious, sky-lit studio in Lake Forest, Illinois, Caruso continues to enjoy the design process as much as he did when he first discovered it as a boy. "My goal has always been to bring function and art together in products that perform superbly and look great," he says.
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