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How The Aeron Chair Was Born

Almost everyone knows the Aeron chiar as a high-tech design classic, but few know its origins lie in a consumer insights project for the elderly.


Start your innovation project with consumer insights

The Aeron chair was not plucked out of thin air and simply created. Creating new product and services doesn’t work like that. If you want to create world class innovations, start with a consumer insight project. This famous chair was born out of a research project to design a chair for elderly people. The findings that were found here informed the transfer into an office chair and the rest is history.

Hisotry of the Aeron Chair

After the great dotcom bust of 2000, there was one lasting symbol of the crash: Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. The ergonomic, mesh-backed office chair was launched in 1994, at the start of the bubble; at a cost of more than $1,000 at the time, it quickly became a status symbol in Silicon Valley–spotted constantly in magazines, and in cameos on TV and film. Then, as the dotcoms failed, the chairs went empty. As one information architect told New York magazine years later, he remembered them “piled up in a corner as a kind of corporate graveyard.” He went on: “They’re not in my mind an example of hubris as much as they are an example of companies trying to treat their staff more generously than they could actually afford.”

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