The Aeron Chair, a design classic
The multi-million selling Aeron Chair was first launched by Herman Miller in 1994. This Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf design classic has since then sold more than seven million copies (currently one every 17 seconds). It is known as ‘America’s best selling chair‘, and since 2010 has been a permanent addition to the American Museum of Modern Art’s design collection.
The Aeron is Chadwick and Stumpf’s third attempt at designing an Orthopaedic chair for the Herman Miller company. Their first two designs, the ‘Sarah’ and then the ‘Equa’ did not gain the support of Herman Miller’s marketing managers and were as a result, effectively dead on arrival. Chadwick and Stumpf only greed to proceed with the design of the Aeron, on the condition that they had the boards support for the project.
The Aeron took all they had discovered with their first two attempts, and a team of ergonomists, orthopedic specialists, and physical therapists, followed by 224 detailed anthropometric surveys, to get it into production.
They were striving to create a chair that “would represent the human figure both visually and tactilely.” The result is an office chair with a biomorphic structure that adapts to the contours of the human body.
Even more surprising, one of the biggest success factors of the chair, is its use of Pellicle fabric in its construction. This massively reduces the cost and complexity of the production of the chair itself by getting rid of the need to produce and ‘cure’ foam padding.
It is also a major health benefit to the owner of the chair, since the pellicle encourages air flow and reduces uncomfortable dampness and soreness in those who have to sit for long periods of time in the chair.
Aaron’s organic form, as well as being revolutionary because it helps the chair to support the sitter, rather than cocooning them in absorbent padding, follows on from the design work of Charles and Ray Eames. It also comes in three different sizes to suit our different body shapes.
Herman Miller is still producing more than one million of these (2016) Re-designed beauties a year, so these chairs must have something special about them to survive longer than most of the companies that bought them in the first place.
This something special is basically how good they feel, and how adjustable they are to suit your bodies needs. They can be adjusted to support you, and you alone, this makes them very personal.
They truly are not just a chair, they are your chair, and they come with a massive no quibble 12 year guarantee from Herman Miller, so you know when you buy one, they literally are your chair for life.
It is this quality and customisation that makes them so popular, and dare we say it, cost effective. Sure they cost more than other chairs, but they are built to last and they do last, so though you pay more up front, over time you pay less and your back will always thank you for it.
Try spending 10 hours a day in another chair, and you will soon be able to tell the difference this investment has made to your health and productivity.
The chair is also very environmentally friendly, and is made by Herman Miller itself (no outsourcing here) out of a majority of recycled materials, and is 94% recyclable.
Herman Miller are justifiably proud of their environmental credentials and this shows in its designs which use the minimum of materials to the maximum of their capability.
This means, you end up with a design that effectively has all the bells and whistles stripped away. It looks aesthetically ‘clean’, it works to perfection, and to use an old Judo maxim, this ethos is based on ‘maximum efficiency for minimum effort’.
Or in the case of the Herman Miller Aeron chair, maximum performance with minimum material resources and environmental impact.
The original brief Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf were given, was to design the next generation office chair. Chadwick and Stumpf achieved this, but the Aeron chair was given a redesign and makeover in 2016 . This gave it a new suspension system, better spinal support and re-engineered tilt. It was a reboot for the next 20 years of our office lives.
The Aeron’s main features:
- The Aeron’s PostureFit SL technology gives you the ideal sitting position with your chest open, shoulders back, pelvis tilted slightly forward.
- It’s adjustable pads provide lumbar support and stabilize the base of your spine, giving you the perfect balance of ergonomics and comfort.
- The breathable 8Z Pellicle suspension seat and back create eight zones of varying tension for optimal support.
- The Aeron comes in three different sizes to ensure that regardless of your height or weight, the perfect chair is there for you.
- This means the chair can cater for people from 4’8″ in height to 6’7″, and from 90 pounds in weight to 350 pounds.
- The Aeron comes with a 12 Year Manufacturers warranty to give you peace of mind(most companies offer 1 – 2 years). This shows how confident Herman Miller are of the quality of their workmanship. If anything goes wrong with the Herman Miller Aeron chair, you’ll get it replaced no questions asked.
- Herman Miller’s Kinemat® tilting mechanism that lets your entire body rest and pivot in a completely natural fashion. This reduces pain on all the major joints, leaving you pain free and focussed on your work, not your chair.
- The Pellicle fabric makes it very breathable and reduces your sweating and the general damp, yuck feeling you get from sitting in a chair all day when you have a client brief to get out.
- It has a waterfall style front edge. This means your legs are positioned perfectly and reduces the pressure and pain on your thighs from sitting for a long time. It makes you feel good, and helps you work more and hit your targets. A win-win in our eyes.
Our verdict on the Aeron office chair
There is no getting away from it, an Aeron is expensive, but with an Aeron, you are getting a chair for life. It is designed to perfection, it will last for ever and your back will thank you everyday for your investment in your health.
Other chairs cost a lot less but also last a lot less. This soon adds up financially, and like everything in life, at the end of the day you simply get what you pay for.