I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the Herman Miller Aeron Chair was never intended for the office. Though it rose from the ranks to become Silicon Valley’s greatest status symbol, the beloved mesh-backed chair was originally designed for the elderly. From those humble beginnings, the Aeron Chair grew into an icon. Now the Aeron Chair is the most famous ergonomic office chair ever made, and has a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Herman Miller’s first ergonomic chair was the Ergon, launched in 1976. Several more ergonomic designs followed throughout the 80s, before the company hired Don Chadwick and Bill Strumpf to create an innovative new model. The new chair had to meet four criteria:
- It had to contribute to the health of the person using it
- It had to be environmentally friendly
- It had to be highly functional, allowing for the user to change position frequently and easily
- It had to fit the body measurements of the person using it, and offer multiple sizes to accommodate different body types
The resulting design was dubbed the Aeron and released in 1994. A breathable, form-fitting Pellicle suspension replaced traditional upholstery, allowing the chair to adapt to the shape of the user, while the breakthrough Kinemat® tilt enabled it to move smoothly as the sitter leans forward or reclines. On top of those innovations, there’s also this: it’s 94% recyclable.
In Popular Culture
Nowadays the Herman Miller Aeron Chair is an integral part of the pop culture lexicon. Not only can you find it in the offices of executives everywhere, you can also find it on the sets of shows like The Office, The Simpsons (as the seat of God!), 30 Rock, Will & Grace, and House. The Herman Miller Aeron is even a movie star – just take a look at what Judi Dench’s M is sitting on in Casino Royale.
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