Herman Miller makes its Aeron Chair even better with ocean bound plastic

Oct 6, 2021
  • Article by Sarah Hetherington

Designing an icon is no mean feat. Remastering an icon poses an even greater challenge – how does one improve on perfection?

Created by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick in 1994, Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair broke the mould in terms of its design, functionality, aesthetics and material innovation – without relying on the standard use of foam, fabric, or leather found in most office chairs at the time.

In 2016, the tilt-mechanism was improved and eight zones for support were created for the human body through the now-famous Pellicle suspension material.

Today, adapting to the needs of our time, Herman Miller has taken the world’s number one task chair to the next level, prioritising the planet and inclusivity, reasserting itself as a timeless icon once again.

Aeron’s legacy of sustainability and innovation continues since its introduction nearly 30 years ago.

Through Herman Miller’s membership of the NextWave Plastics consortium, convened by Lonely Whale, the entire portfolio of Aeron Chairs will incorporate ocean-bound plastic sourced from coastal cities in India and Indonesia.

Currently, all chairs within the Aeron Portfolio are up to 90 per cent recyclable and composed of over 50 per cent recycled content.

Aeron comes in a range of four considered colourways inspired by elements from the earth. Graphite is a distinctive dark gray, with a classic textured finish; Carbon offers a balanced neutral that works equally well in warm and cool environments; and Mineral is the lightest, ideal for open floorplans and spaces. 

Further, Aeron also is available in three sizes (A, B and C), which were precisely designed to welcome a wide range of body types, reflecting Herman Miller’s conscientiousness in designing for an inclusive and an ever-changing society.

The new dramatic colourway Onyx Ultra Matte will be the first option available in Australia in November 2021.

Responding to the desires of clients, the Onyx Ultra Matte is the darkest Aeron has ever produced and is a true matte black finish.

Elegant, elevated and sophisticated, Onyx speaks to the contemporary client.

Additionally, Onyx contains the highest amount of ocean-bound plastic in the frame and tilt covers of the chair (1.13kg which is equivalent to approximately 114 plastic water bottles). The incorporation of ocean-bound plastic is projected to save the ocean from over 150 tonnes of plastic annually.

Gabe Wing, Herman Miller’s Director of Sustainability notes: “We joined NextWave to play an active role in taking on the ocean plastic problem and cast a wide net for opportunities to incorporate ocean-bound plastic across our global operations.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve already made with packaging and textiles and are eager to continue doing our part in preventing harmful plastic from reaching our oceans by adding it to the iconic Aeron Chair.”

Further, Herman Miller has an ongoing commitment to sustainability, and long-term goal to increase recycled content to at least 50 per cent, including the use of ocean-bound plastic across all material the company uses by 2030.

The 2021 introduction of ocean-bound plastic to the Aeron is just the latest improvement to a chair that has received its fair share of accolades.

In 2016, the remastered piece won the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design’s Good Design Award, with the same arriving from the Industrial Design Council of Australia in 2017.

The Aeron is also Herman Miller’s first product to attain the industry-leading Cradle to Cradle V3 Silver Level certification, which is assessed on environmental and social performance.

With the current movement globally around working from home, and the ever-growing need for equilibrium, health and wellness, the Aeron Onyx translates seamlessly from the office to the home office allowing companies to further support employees.

In advancing the sophisticated Aeron Chair even further, by adding ocean-bound plastic to the body—all without compromise is what makes it the iconic work chair on earth.  

For further information about the new Aeron Onyx Ultra Matte colourway, visit the Herman Miller website.

Photography supplied.

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