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.
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 this 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, Aeron performs smarter than ever before, so you can too.
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.
“I enjoy myself, and I do it through design,” Stumpf declared in an interview a few years ago. “I love beauty, and I love the availability of beautiful things and useful things immediately around me.”
When he looked around though, too often he saw design that “denies the human spirit”, architecture that acknowledged money and not people, offices that were “hermetically sealed in artificial space”. He constantly battled against such designed indignity, a battle that began in the 1960s at the University of Wisconsin.
“Everything goes back to those days at the University of Wisconsin,” he said recently, referring to the postgraduate years he spent studying and teaching at the university’s Environmental Design Center. “Everything was about freeing up the body, designing away constraints.”
Stumpf, Weber + Associates
Best of NeoCon Silver, Ergonomic Desk/Task Seating, for Embody, 2009
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards, Product Design winner, 2006
Time magazine, Design: Best of the Decade for Equa chair, 1990
IBD Gold Award for Ethospace interiors, 1985
IBD Gold Award for Equa chair, 1984
ID magazine “Designer of the 70s”, 1979
ASID Award for Ergon seating, 1976
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.
An industrial design student at UCLA in the mid-1950s, Chadwick’s focus on furniture sharpened after attending a lecture from celebrated designers Charles and Ray Eames. Ten years later, he had his own design studio in Los Angeles, a small space above a hardware store, where he spent much of his time trying to promote his ideas to manufacturers. “It started, I believe, in 1972,” as Chadwick puts it, when Herman Miller paid him a visit. He’s designed and co-designed some of the company’s most recognisable products ever since. In the midst of his budding (and soon-to-be booming) career, Chadwick returned to UCLA to bestow his knowledge upon students as a professor, from 1976 to 1985.
An avid collector of art, Chadwick is no stranger to museums – and neither are his designs. The Aeron chair, an ergonomic icon he co-designed with Bill Stumpf for Herman Miller in 1994, became part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection before it went into production.
Chadwick will admit that plenty has changed over the years, including his process. For instance, he’s more attuned to the digital aspects of design like sketching on screen versus on paper. But there is one thing about Chadwick’s design process that hasn’t changed in the 44 years he’s been designing: his curiosity. He continues to question the way designers and manufacturers use sustainable materials to improve the ways people live and work, through design.
Chadwick and his wife spend much of their time visiting art galleries or prospecting new restaurants in Los Angeles, as well as abroad. An avid documentarian, he seldom travels without his camera. His current favourite, a Sony RX100M3. He says of his photography, “I tend to look at everything. If it has some particular visual interest, I don’t mind recording it. It doesn’t have to be pretty, either.”
Recently, Chadwick revisited his and Stumpf’s most successful design, the Aeron chair. The designer and Herman Miller worked together for nearly two years to update almost every element of the chair for today’s workers. With Chadwick’s leadership, today’s Aeron is re-engineered for better health, readjusted for better performance, reconsidered for a better fit and refined for modern environments.
Since childhood, Chadwick has found inspiration in the great outdoors. He still hikes the hills of West LA with Stanley, his Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, seeking the inspiration to influence his next design – however innovative it may be. “I still have the excitement,” says Chadwick. “And the curiosity. That’s what’s important. If you’re not always looking at things and looking at them differently, with an overall curiosity, you’re no longer a designer.”
Santa Monica, California
National Design Awards, Product Design winner, 2006
Business Week magazine and Industrial Designers Society of America awarded Design of the Decade to the Aeron Chair, 2000
Time magazine, Design: Best of the Decade for Equa Chair, 1990
IBD Gold Award for Equa Chair, 1984
IBD and IDSA awards for casegoods, 1980
The Governor’s Award, Design Michigan Exhibition, 1977
Award for Design Excellence, ID magazine, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974
Size A : H 38,5”, W 25,75”, D 16”, Seat H 14,75-19”
Size B : H 41”, W 27”, D 16,75”, Seat H 16-20,5”
Size C : H 43”, W 28,25”, D 18,5”, Seat H 16-20,5”