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Ergonomics and the Aeron Chair

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

One of the highest compliments an office chair can be paid is to be called "ergonomic." It's also, of course, one of the highest goals. The best office chairs in the world, Aeron among them, and the finest furniture houses in the world, Herman Miller among them, are in a race to build the most absolutely comfortable, supportive, clever, and ergonomic office chair on the market. From the day it came out, the Aeron Chair has clearly had a very strong grip on that title. The chair takes ergonomics in office chairs to a new height, doing everything possible to make sitting, working, and moving in the chair as comfortable, healthy, and supportive as possible. Of course, that's the most important thing in ergonomics; without excellent comfort in whatever product is being improved, the user can't achieve the full effect of increased productivity and ease. If the user isn't comfortable, then the user can't give his or her absolute attention and energy to all the other issues the ergonomic product seeks to solve.

The Aeron Chair is, before anything else, a very comfortable office chair. But even beyond that, there is no facet of ergonomic chair research that the Aeron design team did not address or, in some cases, rewrite as they designed. The list of attributes and features of the chair reads like an index of ergonomic discoveries and innovations, creating a chair of excellent ergonomic strength and expertise. When you buy the Aeron Chair, make no mistake: you are buying one of—if not the—most ergonomic chairs on the market. Perfect for long days at work, perfect for long periods of sitting, and perfect for getting your work done as efficiently and easily as possible, Aeron rocks.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomic Aeron Chair Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between the worker (or operator) and the workplace. It's an ancient science that hasn't always been given the attention, funding, and scientific respect it commands today, but you can credit ergonomics for many of the most important and revolutionary technological inventions and innovations in world history. The science of ergonomics takes into consideration comfort, sustainability (of position or task), differentiation (between functions), organization, health, and design. From the Greek "ergon" (meaning "work,") and "nomos" (meaning "natural law,"), ergonomics has been instrumental in projects as varied as building the pyramids, designing and optimizing the modern hospital and O.R., and drastically limiting the number of destroyed planes in World War II.

Throughout history, it has been responsible for making people's lives easier, faster, more intuitive, and more comfortable. The Aeron Chair is the pinnacle of our society's ergonomic progress and study, internalized by the designers at Herman Miller and produced with you in mind. Aeron is designed to make you comfortable, efficient, productive, and focused. Ergonomics, long ignored as a serious field of scientific inquiry, is now studied and researched at the finest universities and institutions around the globe. It makes an impact in nearly every facet of modern life, from the way the seat and dashboard in your car are constructed to the way your keyboard is laid out.

From the way filing systems are designed to the latest and greatest in desk and conference table design, ergonomics touches our lives in more ways than we know—and the Aeron Chair was and is at the forefront of that design and engineering revolution.

Why Bother?

Why did designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick use ergonomics when creating Aeron? Aeron is, first and foremost, a comfortable chair. Comfort is extremely important when it comes to ergonomics, and in more than one sense. There's the obvious comfort that comes when your body is at rest and supported easily. But there's also mental comfort, and that comes with an intuitive chair that responds quickly and easily to your needs and/or commands. For instance, the fighter planes we discussed earlier were being shot down during WWII at very high rates—because the pilots weren't mentally and physically comfortable. The seating itself was nothing special, but the real problem was the instruments, their relationship to each other, and the physical and mental distance between them. The army fixed the problem by hiring teams of ergonomic-minded scientists to do a redesign, one that made the controls intuitive and easy to use, letting the mind of the pilot focus more on what was really important; the enemy planes and vehicles.

For the modern office chair and the modern office, many of these types of problems still exist. Modern workers need office chairs that can keep them comfortable in their seats for long periods of time, enabling them to work in their offices more easily, faster, and more productively. By simply redesigning the old model for an office chair, a great amount of energy can be saved and redirected, making workers happier and healthier and more productive. This, in turn, makes offices pleasant places to work and more profitable as a result. Again, it all begins with comfort. And for the Aeron Chair, comfort begins in the seat.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

How is Aeron Ergonomic?

The breathable "pellicle" material that makes up the seat and back of the chair is designed to form a pocket, cradling the human form. This pocket allows not only for cradling support, but also for a cessation of pressure on the back and thighs that comes with incorrect pressure distribution. In the Aeron, your weight is distributed correctly, ergonomically, and healthfully. Of course, the designers didn't stop with just the pocket and the material; the Aeron was and is bleeding–edge design, and they went further. The front edge of the seat dives down, creating a waterfall effect. This relieves stress on your thighs, increases circulation, and makes you feel better. It's yet another extremely simple ergonomic solution that nevertheless pays real dividends in increased focus, health, attention, and productivity.

Why is that ergonomic? Because sitting in the Aeron Chair makes workers more comfortable, with improved circulation. Workers like that are more productive and focused than their counterparts. Circulation increases bloodflow to the brain, increasing synaptic speed and focused thought. Sitting in an Aeron also cuts down dramatically on stretching, walking and getting up and down—things that workers have to do when they're uncomfortable, and that take time away from their work.

Ergonomic Office Chair The Aeron also has a revolutionary support system for your back and posture: the PostureFit lumbar support. PostureFit is the culmination of years of continuing research and design that went into the Aeron Chair even after it was produced and sold. The designers of the chair, including the legendary Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, made sure that the Aeron Chair was looked at as a work in progress, and not just a one-and-done type of product. As the industry moves, as the science and engineering of ergonomics and office chairs continue to expand, the Aeron Chair will too. PostureFit was added to the chair in 2000, and the results have been truly astounding. PostureFit has taken the revolutionary and, a few decades ago, seemingly impossible step of removing your posture from the back pain equation. Research has shown that most people sit forward in their chair, or slump.

Aeron was designed, not to correct this posture by forcing the back into uncomfortable and rigid positions, but to relieve the stress and wear that slumping inflicts on the back. In the Aeron, every kind of posture is supported by the multi–faceted, elegant PostureFit system. And saying goodbye to backpain means saying hello to comfort, increased productivity, and focus. Aeron was the first and only chair to completely remove your posture from the back pain equation when it was first released, and it has continued to lead the field when it comes to that kind of total re-imagining of what an office chair can be. Ergonomic research and an open–minded approach are the two keys to the puzzle of the modern office chair, the modern office, the modern worker. Bill Stumpf, Don Chadwick, and Herman Miller have solved that puzzle. The Aeron Chair was the office chair of the last century, and it hasn't been unseated.

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