The Story Retold
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 the new 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, the new Aeron performs smarter than ever before, so you can too.
Pellicle, the innovative, elastomeric suspension of the original Aeron, eliminated circulation-restricting pressure points and stretched the boundaries of material design. New 8Z Pellicle pushes the material to a whole new zone: eight of them. Across the seat and back, eight latitudinal zones of varying tension – tightest at the edges and more forgiving where the body makes contact – envelop the sitter, and deliver increased comfort and ergonomic support.
By doing away with foam and fabric, Aeron solved one of prolonged sitting’s biggest predicaments: the build-up of heat and humidity close to the body. Pellicle allows air, body heat and water vapour to pass through the seat and backrest to help maintain even and comfortable skin temperatures. While many chairs have adopted mesh as a way to deliver some performance, there’s only one Pellicle.
If an active body is at its strongest when standing, chest open and pelvis tilted slightly forward, it makes sense that you would be better off sitting like that too. And that’s exactly where PostureFit SL comes in. Adjustable, individual pads stabilise the sacrum and support the lumbar region of the spine to mimic that healthful standing position.
All of the enhancements to the new Aeron were designed to work together to comprehensively support the human form. PostureFit SL and 8Z Pellicle represent a higher level of ergonomic expertise and state-of-the-art support to improve the experience for the sitter. Together they create total spinal support – calculated, localised support that moves the skeletal system into a position that provides ultimate spinal support. This is achieved both when the person is still, and when the person moves, to provide more active support.
Staying in one position reduces the natural pumping action of the muscles that deliver nutrients to the intervertebral disks. The Aeron chair’s tilt allows it to move with the body in such a natural way that people can shift from forward to reclining postures intuitively. Today’s slimmer, updated tilt mechanism delivers an even more seamless experience of movement (and stasis) to the sitter through a smoother trajectory and optimal balance point. Aeron is designed to keep people in contact with the back of the chair and in control of their continuous movement throughout the entire range of recline.
The new Aeron enables people to shift from an upright position to a full-recline smoothly and simply. While the original design supported numerous positions and postures, the frame angle has been adjusted 1.8 degrees forward to better support the body in the upright position and across a wider range of postures. Whether a person is positioned forward for typing and intense focus, or fully-reclined for conversation and contemplation, they will find the new Aeron moving with them – without any trouble – to offer proper ergonomic support across a larger variety of tasks.
With Aeron, Stumpf and Chadwick proved that a chair didn’t just have to sit there, and you didn’t just have to sit in it; it could actually be better for you.
For individuals sitting in Aeron, cross-performance design means the chair accommodates a wide range of activities and postures people adopt while working – from intense forward-facing focus to relaxed contemplative recline. For designers and organisations, cross-performance makes Aeron suitable for a wide array of workplace settings, from residential workpoints to shared workshops.
With chairs, one size does not fit all people. Based on an ends-to-the-middle design approach, Aeron comes in three sizes to provide a fit that is inclusive rather than exclusive, and delivers the same comfort to the largest range of anthropometric body types of any chair.
The Aeron chair was designed with sensitivity to its impact on the interior environment in which it will be placed and the broader environment that provides the resources for its manufacture.
Designed by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, 1994
When designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick set out to create a chair that was health-positive, cross-performing, inclusively-sized and environmentally sensitive, they arrived at a design unlike the world had ever seen. Aeron demonstrated a pioneering step in ergonomics and material innovation, and provided a comfortable solution without the standard use of foam, fabric or leather. It changed people’s perception of what an office chair could be, and in doing so it soon found a place in popular culture.
Remastered by Don Chadwick, 2016
Fast forward to the present, and the same criteria serve as the foundation for a whole new Aeron. Just as iconic films and albums are updated for new mediums, standards and audiences, Aeron has been remastered based on Herman Miller’s latest research around the science of sitting, advancements in materials, manufacturing and technology, and today’s world of work.
The office of 1994 would be largely unrecognisable today. With all the changes that have occurred, it only made sense that Aeron should also change to better meet the needs of today’s work, workers and workplaces.