Aeron by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick

A product designer’s job is equal parts scientist, engineer, archivist—their work, the result of years of research and tinkering, may start as one thing and turn into something completely different. No one knows this better than designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, who put in years of combined research into the way people sit. Their most well-known joint production is the Aeron Chair, an ergonomic revolution when it first hit the market in 1994, and now the gold standard for office seating today. But Aeron wasn’t invented out of thin air—Chadwick and Stumpf worked on a number of predecessors that assayed their ideas of elemental chair design. Here’s the Aeron journey, from prototype to industry pioneer.

Product Designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick.


The world’s first research-based ergonomic chair

Nearly 20 years before the launch of the Aeron Chair, Bill Stumpf designed Ergon, changing the world of office seating forever. Before Ergon’s launch, Stumpf laid out the criteria for comfort, which would influence Herman Miller’s definition of high-performance seating, with a balanced view of comfort, function, and aesthetics.


“Best of the Decade”

Bill Stumpf teamed up with Don Chadwick for their first seating collaboration: the Equa Chair, which was marketed as a “chair for people who can’t sit still” and landed in Time magazine’s “Best of the Decade” for design.


Long-term sitting

Stumpf and Chadwick teamed up to research comfortable chairs for the elderly as part of a pilot program. The result? The Sarah Chair, which experimented with advanced kinematics as well as a new type of interior suspension, using a woven elastic material.

Three Ergon Chairs shown in red, yellow, and blue.
A black Equa Chair with a 5-star base.


An ergonomic revolution

The Aeron Chair, designed by Stumpf and Chadwick, launched in 1994 and swiftly revolutionized the office furniture industry. It proved pioneering in both ergonomics and material innovation, thanks to its proprietary breathable textile known as Pellicle. This material could flex in multiple directions and was visually elegant enough that it could stay exposed with no additional upholstery, like the standard foam, fabric, or leather found in most office chairs at the time.


Aeron quickly became the new gold standard for work chairs, landing in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

A black Aeron Chair with a 5-star base.
Twelve various people sitting on individual Aeron Chairs.


Good Design Award in Japan

Aeron won the Gold Prize for "Good Design Awards" in the Office and Storage category from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).


“Design of the Decade” in China

Aeron received the “Design of the Decade” Gold Winner in China.


“Best of the Decade” ... again

The Industrial Design Society of America and Business Week magazine declared Aeron its “Design of the Decade.”


PostureFit sacral support

Herman Miller introduces its patented PostureFit technology, in collaboration with Dr. Brock Walker, back care specialist, designer, and holder of multiple patents in fields including biomechanics and ergonomics.

Thoughtful, integrated style and technology

Fast Company magazine hails Herman Miller's Aeron chair among the 15 best-designed consumer products of the past 100 years, based on its "thoughtful, integrated style and technology," affordability, accessibility, and impact.

Back view of an Aeron Chair with adjustable PostureFit SL.


The Simpsons did it!

The Aeron Chair made an appearance on The Simpsons episode “Thank God, It’s Doomsday,” portraying God sitting in an ergonomic throne.


Cradle to cradle

The Aeron Chair  was Herman Miller’s first product to receive the industry-leading Cradle to Cradle V3 Silver Level certification, assessed on our environmental and social performance.


Good design, long life

Aeron received the “Good Design Long Life Design Award” from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).


Remastered to perform today

Herman Miller unveiled an update of Aeron—remastered from the casters up—incorporating new research around the science of sitting, plus advancements in materials, manufacturing, and technology—with the help of co-designer Don Chadwick. Aeron Remastered debuted a more refined tilt mechanism, adjustable PostureFit SL, and an updated Pellicle called 8Z which incorporates eight separate “tensioned” zones—four in the seat, four in the back—for even better suspension.

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The original game changer

After realizing that many gamers were drawn to our office chairs for long hours behind a computer, Herman Miller launched a line of gaming chairs—including the Aeron Chair, in special, all-black colorway.


Making the best, better for Earth

The company’s first major foray into product development incorporating ocean-bound plastic—recycled material that's been incorporated into the supply chain, picked from the waste once headed into our ocean—focuses on our best-selling chair.

Learn more

Four Aeron Chairs in four different colors.
Product Designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick

“We wanted a totally new kind of chair.”

More about Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick