Chicago — More than 20 years after its introduction, Herman Miller Inc.'s iconic Aeron chair has gotten an upgrade.
In October, the furniture giant introduced what it's calling a remastered version of the ergonomic office chair, which made its debut in 1994.
Applying two decades of technology improvements and customer feedback, engineers optimized parts like the chair's tilt mechanism for reduced weight and re-engineered the plastic-fiber mesh in the seat and backrest for better support. Visually, however, the chair hasn't changed much; the team sought consistency in maintaining the silhouette of the injection-molded frame.
"We've kept the frame — that's the iconic part of the classic Aeron chair — but everything else from the casters on up has been redesigned,"said Herman Miller's Amy Smith at NeoCon 2017, the commercial design trade show held in June in Chicago.
Unlike the upholstered chairs common at the time of its debut, the Aeron suspends the user on a woven polyester-based mesh Herman Miller calls Pellicle. Where the original Aeron used a single filmant with uniform tension, the remastered version employs five different stiffnesses of fiber, each with a slightly different material makeup, said Andy Hector, senior program manager at Herman Miller, in an email. That allowed engineers to create stiffer zones where more support was desirable, along with softer zones to reduce pressure points and improve comfort.
The redesign also includes a new plastic base option and adds two new, lighter shades to the Aeron lineup, with special attention paid to ensuring consistent coloring throughout the different materials in the chair. Herman Miller will continue to sell the classic Aeron alongside the new version until April 2018.
Herman Miller is headquartered in Zeeland, Mich., with manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom.