Herman Miller Cosm Office Chair Review

Herman Miller COSM chair review
Herman Miller COSM Chair Review

Have Herman Miller beaten their own Aeron with the Cosm?

Herman Miller call the Cosm ‘The Chair for Everyone’ and we see why. It looks gorgeous and oozes automated comfort. No more fiddling around with levers.

Herman Miller Cosm on Amazon

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For the designers at Berlin based Studio 7.5, the latest Herman Miller chair, the Cosm, features for what has become for them a new holy grail, and a benchmark for personalised and automated comfort. Cosm’s new Auto-Harmonic tilt is the successful outcome to a long design journey.

Herman Miller COSM chair review
Herman Miller Cosm Chair

The gifted designers knew, even when working on the precursors to the Cosm, such as the Mirra 2, that the ideal chair should provide a natural counterpoint to the person sitting in the chair and should work intuitively with them rather than fighting them and forcing them to make their own adjustment decisions. 

“You should have a chair that allows you to change postures as easily as possible,” Roland, a designer at Studio 7.5 declared. “You can only do that with a chair that is correctly adjusted, so we wanted to build a chair that does that part for you.”

Studio 7.5 use the following analogy to describe their new Auto-Harmonic tilt feature.

“A tilt is to a chair what a transmission is to a car, and like transmissions, some are manual, and others, such as Cosm’s, are automatic.”

With other self-adjusting models, the chair decides how you should sit by forcing you to adjust to the chair, Cosm, does not do this, it fits around you and adjusts itself to suit your sitting posture, thereby providing you with a smoothly balanced recline and personalised comfort.

Studio 7.5 and Herman Miller achieved this by inventing a complex, finely tuned mechanism that responds to the sitter’s vertical force and uses this force to power the tilt mechanism and move the fulcrum or balancing point, along a leaf spring to automatically adjust the chair’s tension.

Herman Miller COSM chair review
Detail showing the Auto-harmonic tilt feature

The tilt alone doesn’t make Cosm the designers’ most refined design to date. It has taken a meticulous process of prototyping hundreds of hand-sculpted and 3D-printed parts to find the hidden path toward a seating experience unlike any other.

“One of the biggest challenge, or I should say, one of the biggest opportunities, was to determine how to attach the suspension in a way that made it blend into the frame as seamlessly as possible,” Burkhard says.

The answer came in the form of small “teeth” that allow the suspension material to clip into the chair’s frame while staying taut for even pressure distribution. The ingenious way that Studio 7.5 has attached the suspension to the frame is a prime example of what they call “industrial craftsmanship”, a guiding light in their design process.

“We like a product that is readable so that you can understand, even if you’re not a mechanic or an engineer, how you’re being supported,” Carola from Studio 7.5 explains.

Cosm is total comfort and style wrapped up as one entity

The chair’s ergonomic design is further enhanced by Cosm’s Leaf Arm. These are the first of their kind.

“The elbow is a very delicate part of our anatomy; it wants to be placed in a very soft but firm spot,” Burkard explains. “Cosm’s Leaf Arms follow the overall functional and aesthetic intent of the chair by providing a simple and super slim visual appearance with superior comfort.”

Herman Miller COSM chair review
Detailing showing the Cosm leaf design arm rests

Cognizant of how we work today, Studio 7.5 designed the arm to provide comfort for variety of applications. The Leaf Arms make holding a phone or book natural and comfortable, and the angle of the arms mean they don’t get in the way of a desk when it’s time to get back online.

Although technical and engineering challenges occupied much of Cosm’s development time, Studio 7.5 was no less dedicated to its aesthetic appearance.

With its continuous suspension and sculptural form, the chair appears as a single unified object, and not a collection of parts and pieces. This sense of unity is also reflected in its material composure.

“The monochrome coloring dematerializes the object,” Burkhard says of the dipped-in-color concept, in which they present the chair in one hue from top to bottom. “The chair is made out of many different metals and plastics, but ultimately, it’s just one thing.”

As of 2020 Cosm has won the following international design awards

  • Cosm, has received an iF Gold Award in the Office and Industry category at the iF World Design Awards 2020.
  • Cosm is listed by TIME as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019, a curation of products selected to make the world better, smarter and more fun.
  • Cosm, has, receives a Red Dot Best of the Best Product Design Award in the “Office Chairs” category.
Herman Miller COSM chair review
Cosm – different colours, different styles

The stand out features of the Herman Miller ‘Cosm’

  • Colour Ways – Cosm comes in a palette of six cool colours
  • Variable Back Heights – Cosm comes in four form factors (low back, medium back, high back and stool), to suit how you want to use the chair.
  • Auto-Harmonic Tilt – Cosm’s Auto-Harmonic Tilt, Intercept suspension and flexible frame work together to give you a feeling of weightlessness. The tilt instantly and automatically provides balanced support and movement, depending on your body and posture and without you having to do anything. It changes to suit you and your bodily position.
  • Intercept Suspension – Breathable and temperature-neutral, the continuous form of this elastomeric suspension eliminates the gap between the seat and back, conforming to each person’s body to provide dynamic spinal support.
  • Flexible Frame – The thin but strong frame feels nearly non-existent and offers support while flexing so you can comfortably move your upper body.
  • Leaf Arms – To offer as much comfort and ease as possible, Studio 7.5 created Cosm’s Leaf Arms, which feature a soft but firm cradle design that provides a large, cosy resting place for your elbows. The sling design makes holding a phone or book natural and comfortable, and the angle of the arms means that they don’t get in the way of a desk when it’s time to get back online.
  • Guarantee – Comes with a Herman Miller 12 year warranty as standard
  • Gorgeous – Did we say it looks gorgeous?

Back Options for the Cosm

  • High-Back – The high-back fits like a glove while providing upper-thoracic support.
  • Mid Back – The mid-back provides scapular support and easily adapts to any setting.
  • Low Back – The low-back, with its wrap top, facilitates casual movement and collaboration.

Cosm Arm Options

  • Leaf arm
  • fixed (non adjustable) arm
  • Adjustable arm
  • No arms (stool)

Our Verdict

Cosm is a stunningly beautiful chair that has been designed from the ground up to support you and save you time and effort by adjusting to how you sit, rather than you having to spend half your day trying to get it just right.

It is pretty hard to get hold of them at the moment, and we feel that it is like what an Aeron chair for the future should be.

We can see why Herman Muller has chosen to create a different line with this product rather than launch it as an Aeron MKIII and cannibalise the Aeron sales, but in reality, the Aeron broke the accepted rules when it came to designing an ergonomic chair for prolonged use and for us the Cosm takes this one step further and should be considered a worthy alternative or progression to the Aeron.

Latest Cosm Deals on Amazon

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Written by Simon
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. I have life long interest in creative design, art and function and this website is an exploration of that in all its forms and guises.