The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how we've lived and worked in 2020. These changes extend into 2021 and beyond, as certain major companies have made remote work the permanent norm for many of their employees. The work-from-home trend has meant that the line between our professional and personal lives has been significantly blurred.
Enter the home office. Staying productive at home can be a challenge for many as they juggle childcare, homeschooling, parent care and more. Setting up a functional and adequate home office is the best way to set boundaries and recreate a professional work environment.
A big part of that is the office chair. Companies spend a lot of money on ergonomic chairs to ensure their employees feel comfortable for long hours on the job. Herman Miller, a world-renown furniture designer and innovator, has been at the top of the list in many industries. Herman Miller has been in the business of making chairs since 1905. Their chairs have been added to major museums' permanent displays, such as the New York Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMA).
Chairs not only serve as utilitarian assets but are even considered as style and status symbols. So, just as we choose the right style and colours for a refrigerator or couch to match our aesthetic sensibilities, home office chairs are the new black, or space grey.
We're highlighting three ideal Herman Miller chairs for the home office.
The gamified chair
I read a review about the Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, which said: “It will soothe your back but hurt your wallet.” Sure, the $1,495 is very salty, but the benefits are arguably well worth it. You're essentially getting one of the best ergonomic chairs in the world.
Although designed for pro gamers' needs, the seating ergonomics were designed to promote healthy circulation and focus. These are also great attributes for anyone working from home for long hours. The extra padding on the seat is also a nice bum-friendly plus. So this model is likewise ideal for programmers, videographers, graphic designers, and more.
Herman Miller and Logitech spent a lot of time and effort studying the gaming community and the panoply of postures players adopted in their chairs. They concluded from their in-depth research that they needed to incorporate improvements from previous models of Herman Miller's flagship Embody Gaming Chair, focusing on things like lower back support, increased forward-leaning, and greater ability to swivel.
A "BackFit" dial has been incorporated to increase and decrease the curvature in the spine's thoracic area — simultaneously adjusting lumbar support. The chair is remarkably configurable.
The eye-catching back blue mesh colour scheme gives the chair a nice futuristic design flair.
Non-adjustable ergonomic beauty and simplicity
Launched last year, Herman Miller's Cosm mesh office chair is the result of another partnership — this time with Berlin-based design firm Studio 7.5. The self-adjusting chair arrives fully assembled.
The attention to design details is evident, and the mesh design adds to the unique aesthetics, in addition to giving the user a feeling of being comfortably suspended. The feeling of weightlessness is accentuated by the seamless marriage of the flexible frame and woven seat design.
The high-end, commercial-grade mesh comes in five colours: white, canyon, glacier, graphite and nightfall. Simply put, it's a beautiful chair.
Designing a Flying Carpet: Cosm (long) from studio 7.5 on Vimeo.
Although its adjustment options are far more limited than the Embody Gaming Chair, the Cosm chair's high-back design version offers a nice headrest functionality, which the Embody lacks. You won't find a dial or pulling lever, but the Cosm's auto-harmonic tilt feature allows the chair to adjust to the user's body and posture instantly.
The airy mesh design also complements the tremendous back support instead of heavy padding that may feel warm and sweaty for some users.
Reflecting Herman Miller's commitment to minimize their environmental impact, the Cosm chair is made of 68% recycled content, and the chair itself is 94% recyclable.
The remastered "Dot-Com Throne"
A design classic, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair launched in 1994, built by designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, remains a favourite in the ergonomic office chair market. A darling of the Silicon Valley tech boom, the Aeron still hasn't gone out of style — long after the bursting of the dot-com bubble. It's the number-one-selling office chair in the world ,and it's a favourite in corporate settings worldwide.
It was updated and remastered in 2016 but stays true to its original visual aesthetics — pushing the functionality boundaries following two years of research and development. One of the original designers, Don Chadwick (Bill Stumpf passed away in 2006), led the reboot effort, who conducted a wealth of new research into the "science of sitting."
The remastered version is about three pounds lighter and easier to recycle, as it switched out aluminum components in the classic model with plastic parts.
One of its most popular features is the forward tilt and tilt limiter function. With the right adjustment combination, the Aeron can act as a rocking chair. The tension knob control determines how easy it is to lean back in the chair. Have a tight deadline and want to focus? Activating the tilt limiter locks the back into an upright position.
The Aeron comes in three sizes, based on the user's height and weight. A hybrid of high-tech mesh design and adjustable rigid plastics, it sits (pun intended) in a happy place between the previously featured Embody and Cosm. The high-backed seat can also be complemented with a suspension headrest.
A history of comfort and design
All these chairs have a story and reflect an extensive design and engineering process. Herman Miller continues on its long history of working with some of the world's most influential and iconic designers like Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Girard and more.
Take a piece of quintessential industrial design home and create your own magic.