Designer Bill Stumpf once said, “I work best when I’m pushed to the edge.” He got that push collaborating with other designers: Don Chadwick on the revolutionary Aeron chair and Jeff Weber on the health-positive Embody chair. And he certainly was pushed in his work with Herman Miller, a company he noted, that “still believes that good design isn’t just good business, it’s a moral obligation.”
Stumpf began studying how people do—and should—sit back in 1974 at the University of Wisconsin. He worked with specialists in orthopedic and vascular medicine. And he helped translate that research into chairs that people know are comfortable the instant they sit in them.
Working with Herman Miller over the years, Stumpf, and his collaborators, designed four groundbreaking ergonomic chairs: Ergon and Equa, both predecessors to Aeron and Embody. Pushing the edge of design, each was an important advancement in sitting.
Born in 1936, Bill Stumpf would have turned 76 this March. He is still missed, although his work is still very much with us.