Updating a classic: the Aeron chair remastered

Task Chairs. Now here’s the thing, they don’t always look great for the home. And some of them are damn uncomfortable too. But we spend so much more time chained to our laptops at home, either browsing the web at night or pretending to work during the day. Yet, spending money on a good chair which enhances the time we spend at the desk is far from many people’s minds. I’m about to tell you why you should consider investing in an Aeron chair by Herman Miller.

A few months back I received an invitation to the launch of the remastered Aeron Chair by Herman Miller. Sadly I couldn’t make it along, but I was quite fascinated how this classic could get a makeover worthy of a relaunch. But, that’s exactly what they have done… Herman Miller’s new Aeron retains the distinctive silhouette of the iconic chair, but every component of the design has been updated to raise the bar for performance seating. I love that term, performance seating. It sounds like serious business.

 

My Aeron chair arrived a week ago and swiftly took place at my desk, replacing my Eames DSW I usually sit on to work. Wow. I had almost forgotten how comfortable a good chair is and how important it is for working in. My DSW is sadly banished to the corner of the room, whilst the large Aeron chair sits pride of place.

Aeron chair remastered

Aeron chair remastered

The Aeron chair first launched in 1994 and was unlike any chair the world had ever seen. Instead of a padded throne, designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick did away with foam and fabric to create a true machine for sitting. Uniting human-centred design with Herman Miller’s leadership in innovative technology and materials, Aeron quickly became the best-selling and most recognisable performance chair of all time—with over 7 million sold in 134 countries, the chair is a vital tool for users around the globe and holds a rightful place in popular culture.

With the input of original co-designer Don Chadwick, and a dedicated team of scientists, engineers, materials specialists, and researchers who worked on the project for over two years, Herman Miller has enhanced the chair by combining the latest insights in anthropometrics and ergonomics with two decades of advancement in materials, manufacturing, and technology. The resulting chair is recognisably an Aeron chair but features stronger and smarter materials, better adjustment capabilities, intuitive controls, enhanced aeration, and a health-positive, more comfortable sit.

Aeron chair remastered

Aeron chair remastered

Now for the science bit from the mouths of Herman Miller…

Natural Movement

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. The new Aeron’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.

While the classic Aeron chair supported numerous positions and postures, the frame angle of the new chair has been adjusted 1.8-degree forward to better support the body in the upright position and across a wider range of postures. Users will find the new Aeron moving with them seamlessly to offer proper ergonomic support across a larger variety of tasks.

PostureFit SL

Years after Aeron’s completion, Herman Miller continued to advance the science of sitting. With the goal of promoting natural, unforced, spinal alignment and muscle balance even when the sitter is not in a reclined posture, PostureFit in 2002 became a critical element of the Aeron chair’s health-positive design. The technology was developed to provide back support that comfortably sustains the pelvis in its natural forward tilt—the position the body holds while standing powerfully upright. It did so by adjusting to fill the void between the contours of the sacral-pelvic area and the backrest.

Today, by incorporating adjustable sacral and lumbar support, PostureFit SL brings the technology to a whole new level. It supports the sacral region to nurture the natural S-shape of the spine, rotate the pelvis forward, and activate healthful posture—all while sitting upright. A secondary pad provides comfort and support to the lumbar region of the spine. Together, they help strengthen the spine to produce what Herman Miller calls “power posture.” PostureFit SL puts the sitter in complete control of his or her posture with the new Aeron chair’s premier spinal support system.

8Z Pellicle

New 8Z Pellicle offers unprecedented comfort through eight varied zones of tension in the seat and back. Designed around the human anatomy to better envelop the sitter, the tightest zones provide firm support where you need it, while more compliant zones conform to the sitting bones and distribute weight evenly. Woven with nine unique shades of weft yarn, 8Z Pellicle offers a richer tonality and works seamlessly with the new Aeron’s three material palettes.

Designed to embrace the human body and enhance comfort and performance, each of 8Z Pellicle’s zones serves a specific purpose. Four tight zones engage the sitter and are the first point of contact with the suspension material to reinforce a healthful seated posture. Two nesting zones provide a lower amount of tension to cradle the sit bones and scapulars and reduce pressure in those areas. Two zones of stabilisation accommodate the key muscle groups of the sitter at a healthy angle without letting the body sink into the chair. Together, the zones deliver the pre-emptive support the body needs to stay active throughout the day.

Customised Fit

Aeron’s original design made it possible to adjust the amount of recline and resistance to the sitter’s liking. Depending on a person’s scale, this involved up to 50 turns of the tilt mechanism. The new chair offers updated user adjustments for intuitive, fine-tuning; advancements in engineering have allowed Herman Miller to scale back the amount of turning, twisting, and time spent customising a personal fit. Now the sitter can reach a custom recline with minimal effort. Additionally, an updated arm mechanism allows not only for up and down adjustments, as with the original Aeron Chair, but a greater degree of personalisation through front to back, and side-to-side adjustments.

 

Designers: Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick
Manufacturer: Herman Miller
Year: 1994, remastered 2016
Price: from £969.00

Daniel

Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

1 Comment

  • manimalistadmin says:

    Really enjoyed this article, Daniel. The DSW is one of my favourite chair designs but it’s hard to beat a good task chair for work. I’ve currently got a Knoll Chadwick but the fixed arms are a bit of a nightmare.

    Shaun

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