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Aeron ChairsHERMAN MILLER: Design Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick
The Story Retold. While its iconic form has remained largely unchanged, the Aeron chair has been remastered from the casters up to meet the needs of today’s work. With the help of original co-designer Don Chadwick, we thoughtfully updated the chair based on the latest research around the science of sitting, and advancements in materials, manufacturing and technology.
Retooled to Perform Today. Since Aeron debuted in 1994, we at Herman Miller have learned a great deal more about how best to support people in the varied postures they adopt throughout the workday. With the new chair, we incorporated two decades worth of technological and ergonomic enhancements to improve the health-positive design, and widen the range of cross-performance capabilities. With updates that include a more refined tilt mechanism, adjustable PostureFit SL and 8Z Pellicle suspension, the new Aeron performs smarter than ever before, so you can too.
Get into the Zones. Pellicle, the innovative, elastomeric suspension of the original Aeron, eliminated circulation-restricting pressure points and stretched the boundaries of material design. New 8Z Pellicle pushes the material to a whole new zone: eight of them. Across the seat and back, eight latitudinal zones of varying tension – tightest at the edges and more forgiving where the body makes contact – envelop the sitter, and deliver increased comfort and ergonomic support.
Stay Cool. By doing away with foam and fabric, Aeron solved one of prolonged sitting’s biggest predicaments: the build-up of heat and humidity close to the body. Pellicle allows air, body heat and water vapour to pass through the seat and backrest to help maintain even and comfortable skin temperatures. While many chairs have adopted mesh as a way to deliver some performance, there’s only one Pellicle.
A Stance Worth Backing. If an active body is at its strongest when standing, chest open and pelvis tilted slightly forward, it makes sense that you would be better off sitting like that too. And that’s exactly where PostureFit SL comes in. Adjustable, individual pads stabilise the sacrum and support the lumbar region of the spine to mimic that healthful standing position.
Combined Comfort. All of the enhancements to the new Aeron were designed to work together to comprehensively support the human form. PostureFit SL and 8Z Pellicle represent a higher level of ergonomic expertise and state-of-the-art support to improve the experience for the sitter. Together they create total spinal support – calculated, localised support that moves the skeletal system into a position that provides ultimate spinal support. This is achieved both when the person is still, and when the person moves, to provide more active support.
If You’re So Reclined. Staying in one position reduces the natural pumping action of the muscles that deliver nutrients to the intervertebral disks. The Aeron chair’s tilt allows it to move with the body in such a natural way that people can shift from forward to reclining postures intuitively. Today’s slimmer, updated tilt mechanism delivers an even more seamless experience of movement (and stasis) to the sitter through a smoother trajectory and optimal balance point. Aeron is designed to keep people in contact with the back of the chair and in control of their continuous movement throughout the entire range of recline.
A Seamless Shift. The new Aeron enables people to shift from an upright position to a full-recline smoothly and simply. While the original design supported numerous positions and postures, the frame angle has been adjusted 1.8 degrees forward to better support the body in the upright position and across a wider range of postures. Whether a person is positioned forward for typing and intense focus, or fully-reclined for conversation and contemplation, they will find the new Aeron moving with them – without any trouble – to offer proper ergonomic support across a larger variety of tasks.
Health-Positive Design. With Aeron, Stumpf and Chadwick proved that a chair didn’t just have to sit there, and you didn’t just have to sit in it; it could actually be better for you.
A Whole New Aeron. Through hundreds of samples, tests and iterations, we arrived at three tightly curated, holistic material expressions. Graphite is the darkest, a modern take on the original Aeron. Carbon offers a balanced neutral that works equally well in warm and cool environments. Mineral is the lightest, ideal for today’s more open office environments.
Designed by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, 1994. When designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick set out to create a chair that was health-positive, cross-performing, inclusively-sized and environmentally sensitive, they arrived at a design unlike the world had ever seen. Aeron demonstrated a pioneering step in ergonomics and material innovation, and provided a comfortable solution without the standard use of foam, fabric or leather. It changed people’s perception of what an office chair could be, and in doing so it soon found a place in popular culture.
Remastered by Don Chadwick, 2016. Fast forward to the present, and the same criteria serve as the foundation for a whole new Aeron. Just as iconic films and albums are updated for new mediums, standards and audiences, Aeron has been remastered based on Herman Miller’s latest research around the science of sitting, advancements in materials, manufacturing and technology, and today’s world of work.
The office of 1994 would be largely unrecognisable today. With all the changes that have occurred, it only made sense that Aeron should also change to better meet the needs of today’s work, workers and workplaces.
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Designer: Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick
Bill Stumpf once said: “I work best when I’m pushed to the edge. When I’m at the point where my pride is subdued, where I’m innocent again. Herman Miller knows how to push me that way, mainly because the company still believes – years after D.J. De Pree first told me – that good design isn’t just good business, it’s a moral obligation. Now that’s pressure”.
Stumpf’s association with Herman Miller began in 1970 when he joined the staff of the Herman Miller Research Corporation. After establishing his own firm in 1972, Stumpf created the Ergon chair, the first ergonomic work chair. Later, in collaboration with Don Chadwick, he produced the ground-breaking Equa and iconic Aeron chairs. He was also principal designer for the Ethospace system.
Even though Don Chadwick has achieved acclaim for his work on some of the world’s most iconic furniture, he’s still at it. He’s still in Southern California. He’s still getting his hands dirty. He’s still refining his process and sharpening his eye for design. He’s still having fun.
He continues to consider his constraints, using ergonomic elements like tilt mechanisms, elastomeric materials and casters to arrive at new designs. Having nearly half a century of celebrated innovations, he remains influential to industrial designers and furniture manufacturers the world over. His Modular Seating design for Herman Miller, which was originally introduced in 1974, relaunched at NeoCon in 2015.
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