Herman Miller Aeron Vitalityweb.com
Herman Miller turned to designers Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf to design a totally
new kind of chair. Chadwick's and Stumpf's previous collaboration had produced
the groundbreaking Equa chair.
The two designers began this development process with a clean slate, with no
assumptions about form or material, but with some strong convictions about what
a chair ought to do for a person.
Ergonomically, it ought to do more than just sit there. It should actively intercede
for the health of the person who sits in it longer than she should.
Functionally, it ought to move and adjust as simply and naturally as possible. It
should support a person in any position he cares to assume, at any task his office
job serves up.
Anthropometrically, it ought to be more inclusive than its predecessors. It should
do more than accommodate small or large people; it should really fit them.
Environmentally, it ought to be benign. It should be sparing of natural resources,
durable and repairable, designed for disassembly and recycling.
The design that fulfilled these criteria met all expectations and shattered some of
them. It wasn't upholstered. It wasn't padded. It was dimensioned in three models
that looked exactly alike and that had nothing to do with their users' job titles. It
didn't look like any other office chair. And its revolutionary concept incorporated
more patentable ideas than any previous Herman Miller research program.
"It was a matter of deliberate design to create a 'new signature shape' for the
Aeron chair," says designer Bill Stumpf. "Competitive ergonomic chairs became
look-alikes. Differentiation was a huge part of the Aeron design strategy, and it
remains one of, if not the most, critical aspects of Aeron's success.
"The human form has no straight lines, it is biomorphic. We designed the chair to
be above all biomorphic, or curvilinear, as a metaphor of human