The Story of the Ergonomic Aeron
The Herman Miller Aeron chair was designed by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick. It was first launched in 1994 at a cost of almost 1000 US dollars per chair Stumpf and Chadwich had been hired by Herman Miller to investigate the potential of furniture for the elderly.
At the time, hospitals were lacking ergonomic furniture that was practical for long term care. In short the American population was ageing quickly and the two men saw an opportunity. The chairs at the time being used by hospitals were unsuitable for purpose.
“The Sarah” chair designed by the two men was completed in 1988 and addressed everyting that was wrong with the other chairs that were in use. Despite the high tech function of “The Sarah” it was scrapped as the company needed high margin office furniture.
For a time Stumpf and Chadwich did not work with Herman Miller however, a few years later both men were called back to use aspects of the Sarah chair and use them in an office chair. The men had the aim of getting more performance from less materials. Executives were wary of the Aerons odd look initially but it soon became a major selling point.
Stumpf and Chadwich were quite aware that it was not healthy to sit in a chair for hours, that it was good to get up and walk around from time to time, however, the Aeron’s sheer design and comfort encouraged it.
Undoubtedly Stumpf and Chadwich started a revolution in ergonomics.