Monday, September 26, 2011

Choosing Office Task Chairs - Aeron by Herman Miller

     As part of what I do from time to time I try out office task chairs. I do so because I used to have an old-fashioned wooden office chair which while swiveled hurt my back while not being adjustable.  I have set off on a quest to try out various task chairs made by some of the more renowned manufacturer's in the country.  As an architect working in workspace design it's important to cultivate a real understanding of what's out there and how the chairs really work.  Good task chairs especially I believe are less about good looks and more about performance, helping us do our work more effectively.
     Ironically the chair I begin with is the iconic Herman Miller Aeron. Bill Stumph designed it.  Click on the link I provided and you can find a video of him telling the story of its design.  It's a compelling and timeless one for those seeking a look into the process of innovation, product development and market adoption.
     The local dealership, Creative Office Pavilion located in downtown Burlington lent me this seat to try out for a couple of weeks.  I've really enjoyed this chair and if you're someone who  spends a great deal of time multi-tasking in front of a computer, phones, desks, drafting tables (for me) this chair may be for you.
      It's innovative and very ergonomic, with a generationally trendsetting webbing called the Pellicle, which provides a firm yet giving, breathable back and seat to sit in. Overall the chair is fairly light weight and easy to adjust.  The yellow block you see in the back ground is the foot rest I use to accommodate my higher work surface and not dangle my legs which strains my back with nothing to rest upon.  I recommend tinkering with this with any seating you're looking at.
     I find the seat controls easy to use and understand to adjust the chair to my body type and liking.  The lumbar support you see transparently behind the seat back webbing between the two rotating arms really, really works for my back.  The wide proportions of upper part of the seatback work well with my broad back and "give" with me as I move side to side.   The armrests rounded shapes are easy on my forearms when doing heavy duty repetitive tasks such as typing.
     Environmentally the chair has Green guard certification, it's 94% recyclable and 66% of the chair's materials are derived from recycled sources.  It's a silver MBDC Cradle to Cradle certified chair. As the Aeron Environmental Summary states, "[The]...Aeron is composed of environmentally safe and healthy materials, is designed for material reuse in a closed-loop system, such as recycling or composting, and is assembled using 100% renewable energy."

For all of these reasons  I recommend this chair.

      Next month I'll write about another chair in my quest to cultivate a clearer, real world understanding of the best of the best of task seating out there.  If you have any Aeron stories or comments I welcome them. Have you had any challenges with the Aeron in your workplace or success stories to share?  Don't hesitate to let us know.

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