Herman Miller Semi Annual Sale On Its Office Chairs Starts Friday June 1st

What's the deal?
Herman Miller is holding its twice yearly sale starting Friday June 1st when you will be able to get an extra 15% discount off its leading chairs.

As well as the extra discount and free shipping, during the sale some online suppliers are also offering no sales tax and free returns. So you really can try out the product risk free.

How long is the sale on for?
It all starts on Friday June 1st and ends on Monday June 11th so time is limited.

Where can I find more about the best chairs on offer?
The links below will take you to a brief overview of some of the top chairs on offer.

These review summaries also include links to our full review of each chair. And from Friday links to where you can get these great deals.

So if you've been thinking about changing your office chair for something better, be sure to check out the great prices while the sale period is on.

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Branded Office Chairs Part 1: Herman Miller Top 3 – Aeron, Embody And Sayl

Following on from last week's article on the benefits of going for a branded chair, this week we begin a series on specific manufacturer's brands worth looking into.

This week we're taking a look at 3 top sellers from Herman Miller the Aeron, the Embody and the Sayl. Let's begin the Aeron its best known product.

Aeron chair
As office chairs go the Aeron ergonomic chair is getting quite long in the tooth it's been around since 1994.

aeron-office-chair

Aeron Ergonomic Chair

Even so it remains an immensely popular choice and has probably reached classic chair status in the process.

One of its biggest appeals is that it comes in 3 sizes making it possible for people to get a chair closely matched to their body size.

It also started the whole mesh chair revolution and is excellent for anyone who tends to sweat a lot, particularly in hot weather. It mesh seat and back material called the pellicle allows air to circulate more freely.

However, it's not all plain sailing as the absence of padding makes for a firm sitting position which some find challenging. So if you prefer a nicely padded seat you may struggle to adapt to it.

And with the highly adjustable Aeron there are 11 separate adjustments. So if you like to be able to fine tune settings then you will find it can be set it up very precisely to your needs.

Let's move onto a more recent model the Embody.

Embody chair
Miller's Embody is a much newer introduction which first appeared in 2008.

Embody Chair

Embody Chair In Blue Fabric

It's a one size fits all chair and is quite different to the Aeron in appearance and use.

The chair has been produced from scratch and takes advantage of recent developments in plastics and polymers.

When you sit on it it feels like your are floating due to the 4 different components making up the layers of the seat.

The fabric finish is breathable and so is designed to be more user friendly for those who get hot while sitting.

It has a spine like back support designed to move as you move and no hard edges to dig into your body.

Finally there's Herman Miller's latest addition to the range the Sayl.

Sayl chair
This is Miller's most recent addition and launched in 2010.

Sayl Chair

Sayl Chair Side View

As with the Embody it takes advantage of modern materials that simply weren't available a few years ago.

The name is derived from the shape and style of the chair back which looks like a ship's sail, hence the Sayl name.

The open cell polymer back works by providing the right level of support where it's most needed.

Consequently the cells vary in size making sure that it can cope with the different pressures applied by the user's back.

Another great benefit is it costs about 37% less than the Aeron making it much more affordable.

Summary
Let's quickly recap on the what we've covered here:

  • Aeron chairs are still a good choice, and come in 3 sizes
  • Aeron has loads of adjustments to set it just right for you
  • Aeron lacks padding some may find this a problem
  • Embody feels like you're floating and has breathable fabric
  • Embody moves as you move, with no hard edges so doesn't dig into you
  • Sayl provides great back support
  • Sayl is a much more affordable solution

Further information
Here's where you can find full reviews of these 3 Herman Miller chairs:

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Thanksgiving Office Chair Sale Offers From Herman Miller, Steelcase And Humanscale

What deals are available?
Herman Miller, Steelcase & Humanscale are all running Thanksgiving Sale Specials with a chance to grab up to an extra 15% off all their office chairs. Miller and Humanscale are offering a 15% saving with Steelcase giving 10%.

This is a great chance to get a top deal on a wide range of high quality ergonomic office chairs

How long do they last?
Each manufacturer’s sale has slightly different dates.

Herman Miller starts their sale today finishing on Monday 12 December 2011
Steelcase starts Thursday 24 November and runs for 1 week until Wednesday 30 November 2011.
Humanscale’s sale starts on Friday 25 November and ends on Monday 12 December 2011

Where can I find the details?
You can find a quick summary of the key points about some of the best chairs on offer using the links below:

Herman Miller Chairs
Aeron chair
Embody chair
Sayl chair
Mirra chair

Steelcase Chairs
Think chair
Amia chair
Leap chair

Humanscale Chairs
Freedom chair
Liberty Chair
Freedom Saddle Seat

So, if you are ready for a new chair this is an excellent opportunity to lock in a great price. Don't leave it too long because the special pricing will soon be finished.

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What Makes A Classic Office Chair? And Why Do Some Companies Continue To Produce Old Chair Designs?

eames-chair

Eames Classic Leather Chair

80 years ago no man would have left the house without wearing a hat. These days it’s hard to imagine doing such a thing.

And yet, for those who choose to wear a classic hat today, it definitely makes a statement about the wearer.

The right hat can look very distinctive and really set the owner apart from the crowd. Classic office chairs are a bit like that.

 

What is a classic office chair?
It’s simply a chair which has sold well over a period of many years. Manufacturers decide to keep some models in production as they have already written off the cost of tooling and so can continue to make the product relatively cheaply.

Typically, classic office seats have very simple lines and as a result continue to look impressive regardless of current fashions and designs.

How does an office chair reach classic status?
Usually it’s because they have a certain timeless quality about them. They often feature in advertising or are used in reception areas where people like to use them to give an air of quality and good taste to surroundings.

Obviously from the manufacturer’s point of view there still needs to be demand for them and so this a key motivation for the main players in this area of the seating market.

Which companies continue to make classic chairs?
There are two companies most closely associated with classic office chairs, Herman Miller and Knoll. Although Herman Miller is probably best known for its Aeron chair, it actually continues to make a number of seats first launched in the 1950s and earlier.

Particularly popular are many of the chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames who seemed to have a knack for designing seating with simple classic lines that just look good no matter what era they appear in.

Knoll’s classic designs go back even further to the 1930s. And the Barcelona chair designed by architect Mies van der Rohe still has a huge following. It can be found in many reception areas because it just looks so good in this environment with its chrome and black leather. Mind you it takes deep pockets to own one.

Why are classic chairs so expensive?
I suppose one of the reasons they cost so much is the companies producing them aren't under any pressure to sell then cheaply. They are seen as a status symbol and so there is a certain snobbery or cachet about them.

Also, whilst the tooling costs have long been absorbed it probably does create a level of disruption on the production line where high volume models are being made. Of course if you are prepared to turn a blind eye you can save a lot of money.

Should you consider buying a lookalike version?
Inevitably, other manufacturers turn out fake versions at a fraction of the cost of the genuine article. Some of them are very good and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference unless you looked really closely at them. Others are extremely poor quality with inferior leather and poor standards of workmanship and are best avoided.

Summary
So, to summarize the points I've covered, here’s a quick resume of the key points

  • Classic chairs have a certain timeless quality and can create a positive image
  • It’s worth companies to continue offering them because they can get profitable sales
  • They can make important areas in offices really stand out from the crowd
  • The genuine article will set you back a considerable sum of money
  • It’s possible to buy good quality alternatives if you are not too choosy

Classic office chairs will continue to be offered both now and in the future and yet others will become classics, if they haven't done so already. Herman Miller’s Aeron chair will surely be added to their ranks and become the seating equivalent of a homburg hat.

Here's where you can find more information on some great classic chairs which will probably still be being made 100 years from now.

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What Is The Best Office Chair For Short People? Fixing The Discomfort Dilemma

When you need to buy a new pair of shoes chances are you know pretty much what size you need to purchase to make sure you get a good fit. Generally speaking it’s likely you will find new shoes will be the same size each time, so it’s easy to find comfortable footwear.

Why is the right chair important for short people?
Buying an office chair is really little different to shopping for shoes. Just as you wouldn’t buy a pair of size 10 shoes when you take a 6, you need to make sure that the chair you choose is a good fit.

There's a problem though. You see office chairs aren't the same as shoes they don't tend to come in set sizes. They might be offered with low, medium or high backs. However that's more of a feature rather than a good fit. In fact, apart from the Aeron, which does come in 3 different sizes to cater for different body shapes it tends to be, one size fits all.

Average built people often get by as chair manufacturers target the typical sized person whatever that is. However, if you're short built chances are buying a one size fits all chair will only lead to disappointment and discomfort. Nonetheless with a little careful planning, it is possible to get a chair designed to suit your build.

What essential features do short people need?
When shopping for a new chair there are usually 2 major problems smaller framed people encounter and need to get right.

First, the majority of chairs have a fixed seat and so the seat depth can't be adjusted. This often presents a major challenge for those with a shorter leg length. Frequently they find that they end up sitting on the edge of the seat because the seat is too deep.

Fortunately there is a simple answer to this problem and what’s needed is to make sure the chairs you consider have a sliding seat adjustment. That way you get to set the seat’s depth to the proper position for comfortable working. Once you have the seat depth right your back is in contact with the back of the seat and so properly supported.

Second, short built people often find standard seat height adjustment ranges don't work for them. Frequently the seat doesn't go low enough and so it’s not possible to place your feet on the floor. This soon makes working uncomfortable.

To get around this problem what is needed is to replace the standard gas lift with a smaller strut. Most good seating manufacturers offer alternative gas lift struts.

Here's a quick tip for making sure you get the right size. Slip off your shoes, stand up and measure from the floor to the inside of your knee joint. Use that dimension to make sure the seat height can adjust at least an inch above and below it and you should be able to get your feet square and comfortable on the floor.

Whilst a change of gas lift won’t add much to the cost of a chair, unfortunately chairs with sliding seat adjusters do cost more, starting around the $300 level. It would be a mistake to buy a chair without these 2 features if you want to escape discomfort. So much for essential features, what should you be wary of?

What features should be avoided?
Although this may seem obvious many people tend to buy chairs on looks. Often something big and bold looks impressive and yet for shorter built people this can only result in disastrous discomfort. So resist buying chairs that merely look great. A good fit is what matters if you want to be comfortable.

Avoid chairs that don’t allow you to adjust the tilt tension. This is the setting that controls the amount of body weight needed to move the chair back. You want to be able to recline in a relaxed way and not feel you have to wrestle with your chair’s back.

Steer clear of fixed arms, they rarely suit the correct height to support your arms and shoulders comfortably. It’s much better to go for adjustable arms or even no arms when your budget is tight. Many chairs allow you to fit them at a later date. So lets see if we can shortlist some good options for seats for shorter folk.

Which chairs will work well for you?
Although you probably don't like the idea you have to realize that to get the right chair for your needs you probably need to spend between $300 and $600 and maybe more. Ouch! That's likely a lot more than you anticipated. Even so if you want to gain working comfort this is the sort of investment you need to be making.

Norwegian manufacturer HAG makes some excellent chairs to suit short people. HAG was the first company to offer sliding seat adjustment and understands the importance of working comfort. Take a look at either its H04 or H05 models

Neutral Posture is another company which specializes in seating for specific people. Its 5000 series chairs come with a huge range of options to suit your needs.

Herman Miller’s Aeron chair should also work well for you. It comes in 3 sizes and it’s likely that size A will be the most suitable model. There's a handy size chart to make sure it’s the right fit. Its open mesh upholstery is great in hot weather, although it’s a firmer sitting position than a foam padded chair.

Lets quickly recap on the key points we've covered:

  • Standard office chairs rarely work well for short people
  • Make sure you can adjust the seat’s depth
  • Check the height range suits your leg length
  • Avoid buying chairs on looks
  • Budget for at least a $300 to $600 outlay
  • Go for tilt tension adjustment
  • Avoid fixed arms
  • Look for manufacturers who understand your needs

Just like buying shoes, the right chair needs to fit you properly if you want true comfort. Here's where you can find more about the suggested seats from HAG, Neutral Posture and Herman Miller.

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Herman Miller And Humanscale Office Chair Summer Sale Extra 15% Until 13 June 2011

What is on offer?
Herman Miller and Humanscale are running a Summer sale special offering an extra 15% of all their office chairs. The offer covers both companies seating ranges and is a great opportunity to grab an outstanding price on some quality ergonomic office seats.

How long does the offer last?
Both sales started on Friday 03 June and run until Monday 13 June 2011, so as of today that leaves you 7 days to take advantage of this special pricing.

Where can I find the details?
You can find a quick summary of the key points about the chairs on offer together with where to buy them using the links below:

Herman Miller Chairs
Aeron and Embody Range
Sayl Chair
Celle Chair
Mirra Chair
Eames Management Range

Humanscale Chairs
Freedom chair
Liberty Chair
Freedom Saddle Seat

So, if you have been hankering after a new chair now is a great time to lock in a great price. Don't leave it too long though because it all finishes next Monday.

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How eco-friendly is your office chair? Help To Protect Our Planet

There was a documentary on TV last year about the scandalous way in which old computer and electronic equipment is disposed of. It showed how obsolete equipment got loaded into shipping containers and ended up in Africa, India and China.

Here unscrupulous organizations paid local people a pittance to extract valuable metals from the old equipment at great personal risk to themselves. Not only that the toxic waste it all created was frightening as the carcasses of the stripped computers were burnt and hugely harmful chemical clouds got discharged into the atmosphere.

Fortunately, big steps have been taken in recent years to help combat this sort of thing happening with office chairs.

What is an eco-friendly office chair?
An eco-friendly chair is made using materials and components specifically designed to minimize damage to the world’s infrastructure. Typically, you will find these products are made with a high percentage of recycled materials. Not only that, they are also made in such a way that over 90% of the chair will be recyclable at the end of its life.

Fortunately many of the key players in the office seating market are taking the protection of our environment very seriously. These manufacturers go to great lengths to produce chairs that have little or no harmful materials in them.

Consequently when you choose an eco-friendly chair you have the peace of mind that you aren't creating an environmental problem at sometime in the future. How do chair components cause problems to the environment?

Which common office chair components aren’t eco-friendly?
Office chairs that are manufactured irresponsibly actually contain a surprising number of harmful components. The foam used in a lot of chairs is particularly nasty especially when it’s combined with hazardous glues that many suppliers still use.

PVC is a very common chair component that has a harmful effect on our surroundings. Another is chrome where the actual plating process creates some pretty noxious by products.

Unfortunately, it’s usually the case that the most harmful materials are also the cheapest to produce. And so the incentive to be more responsible is often hampered by the desire to remain competitive.

This is particularly true of cheap chairs, which are invariably made to meet a price point and so it becomes a case of anything goes. Regrettably, the only thing that goes is any chance of using safe planet enhancing components. Fortunately the more responsible firms rise above this and are prepared to take a stand and eliminate the harmful stuff wherever possible. In doing so will the performance of their chairs suffer as a result?

Will eco-friendly components affect my sitting comfort?
The good news about using eco-friendly components is they don't in any way compromise on user comfort. In fact, it’s fair to say they actually enhance the user experience and performance of their chairs.

The reason this is possible is because many manufacturers have taken the trouble to develop entirely new ways of making components. As a result instead of just churning out the same old stuff, they have looked at how to do things differently.

And by eliminating traditionally harmful parts they have made it possible to not only be more user friendly but also enhancing the way you work at the same time.

As a result of this drive to produce safer products new materials are now being used in a new and innovative way. In fact many of them didn’t even exist a decade ago. This is all very well, but how do I know the claims made by manufacturers are genuine?

How will I know it’s eco-friendly?
Fortunately there are strict rules for claiming that a product is environmentally friendly requiring certification for qualifying products.

Greenguard is an independent organization and certificates products for the effect they have on indoor air quality.

It all sounds a bit bizarre how can an office chair possibly affect the indoor working environment? Well, we all spend a huge amount of time sitting in offices and air becomes stale as a result. The danger arises when harmful chemicals are released into the air as products made from known problem materials are used.

Unfortunately, it’s a hidden danger and so many don't take it seriously as they can’t see or feel any adverse effects. It’s the long-term cumulative effect that matters.

Once a qualifying chair reaches the end of its life instead of it being pitched into a landfill dump, over 90% of the chair gets re-used. And to make sure that everything is above board there is an ISO standard for it. ISO 14025-EPD is a standard that makes sure products comply with a strict set of rules on end of product life.

So, if a chair claims to be environmentally safe, don't just take the supplier’s word for it. Check out what certification it has to back up its claims.

How you can help to protect yourself and the planet

  • Many chair manufacturers are making eco-friendly seats and deserve your support
  • Recognize that a lot of cheap chairs are made using harmful chemicals and components
  • New materials and ways of making things are continually improving safety and environmental responsibility
  • Look for certification as proof that claims about product performance stand up

As more and more people make the effort to buy environmentally friendly seating, hopefully it will reduce the opportunity for irresponsible people to damage the planet like the computer recyclers.

Here's where you can find more on 3 great chairs from HÅG, Steelcase and Herman Miller that really can make a difference through eco-friendliness. They are also great chairs to work in too.

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Why Is it So Costly To Bring A New Office Chair Design To Market?

A major scandal broke out in China in 2008 when it was discovered that a baby milk manufacturer was cutting corners on costs and adding melamine to its baby feed product to improve its appearance. This resulted in the death of 6 infants.

Cutting corners on costs is a dangerous idea and something that a reputable business simply can’t afford to do with its products.

It isn’t general appreciated what actually goes into bringing a totally new office chair to market. Not surprisingly people look at the price tag and are shocked at the cost. In this article we’re going to look at the 3 phases to the launch of a new chair and how this contributes to the final price tag.

These are the 3 stages:
1 – Design and initial research
2 – Testing and building prototypes
3 – Outlay for tooling and stock

Lets begin with the design and initial research needed for a new office chair
These days when a major chair manufacturer decides to bring a new ergonomic chair to market it will often start with a blank piece of paper. It will want to come up with something original, something that is different and better than just another ‘me too’ product.

The first move will likely be to appoint a designer or liaise with one they’ve used before. Designers aren't normally employed full time by the manufacturer. Nonetheless whether employed or not designers still have to be paid. It’s not unusual for it to take 3 or 4 years to get an initial idea translated into bums on seats and sales for the product.

Sayl chair

Herman Miller SAYL Chair

Using independent designers is in many respects a good thing because it encourages fresh ideas. An in house designer might feel constrained by internal company procedures and tempted to copy old ideas.

When Herman Miller worked with designer Yves Béhar on its new SAYL chair the plastic polymer used in the chair back didn’t even exist. Béhar was inspired by the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and felt the principles employed in its support system would translate well into chair back design.

And yet there was no way of knowing if it would be successful without experimentation.

 

Which brings us to the next stage, testing and building prototypes
From initial ideas and sketches the design then has to progress to the next phase. This involves taking a material like the SAYL's polymer back and getting samples made up. These then need to be tested to see if they are durable enough.

There can’t be any second guessing or assumptions here, because in the case of Miller it guarantees its seating products for 12 years. Imagine the cost of returns if it just deemed that something new should last and yet subsequently found it started breaking down after 3 years. And this doesn't even take any account of the damage to the company’s reputation.

It’s not unusual for a manufacturer to build as many as 70 prototypes of a new chair before it’s confident enough to believe it has got it right.

Prototypes are often fairly crude things initially made from wood and metal fabrications, however they enable the supplier to see how components react under different conditions. Sometimes these just can’t be predicted and so the only way is a physical test. Once all the gremlins have been ironed out of the system it time to go to the last stage and gear up for manufacture.

Laying down tooling and building stocks
When the team are happy that testing shows the product is viable, it’s time to go to the final stage and start ordering the tooling needed to make the new seat. Some tooling will be for in-house use, whereas other parts like, injection-molded plastics will probably be made by a specialist sub-contractor.

However, the molding tools will still need to be purchased by the chair manufacturer and such tooling isn’t cheap. Ownership of the tooling has to remain with the chair’s maker because if the sub-contractor starts letting it down it will need the ability to cancel the contract and transfer tooling and manufacture to a new supplier.

Once the tooling is all in place, comes the final stage of making components and building up stocks to handle what hopefully will be good demand for the new chair. Again this involves a significant cash outlay, as the stock will have to be paid for before any income comes in from sales.

And although new chair designs tend to have less components, when you take account of the different color combinations it all adds up to an expensive commitment. Only when the product hits the market and people start buying the new seat can the company start recouping its initial outlay.

Even then it’s possible that a component may develop an unforeseen problem and need to be re-designed. Thankfully though this is rare because usually the manufacturer’s investment, patience and diligence has paid off.

If a new office chair seems expensive remember what goes into creating it:
1 – Design and initial research
2 – Testing and building prototypes
3 – Outlay for tooling and stock

You won’t find a trustworthy chair manufacturer trying any baby milk corner cutting tricks to enhance its products. The damage to its reputation would be far too great, consequently things have to be done properly and this costs money.

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Why A Good Ergonomic Office Chair Is Like GPS In The Office

Imagine you're on a long drive to a city you’ve never visited before. You're on a tight deadline and you can’t afford to be late or make any wrong turns and you don’t need the pressure of driving against the clock. The natural thing to do of course would be to set up your GPS device before leaving and just relax as it guides you and takes the strain. No need to worry about what to do or where to go because your faithful GPS has it all covered, all you need to do is fuel up and steer your vehicle.

Instead what if you only had a compass to guide you? Even if it was fixed to the dash you would need to keep looking to make sure you were headed in the right direction. And with all the twists and turns in the roads it probably wouldn’t be very practical at all.

A good ergonomic office chair is a bit like GPS for the office
When you have a quality ergonomic chair it helps take the strain of those long days in the office. You have an important project to complete it’s probably the best part of 10 hours work. However the very tight deadline means you have to get it all wrapped up in 8 hours if at all possible.

The last thing you need is to be uncomfortable and constantly moving and shifting as you struggle to relax and concentrate on the task ahead.

With the right chair you're in safe hands because many modern chairs have self-adjusting features. They sense the way you are sitting and provide continuous support to make sure your body maintains a healthy posture throughout the day.

In fact as you become absorbed in the task at hand you'll likely barely notice your chair as you concentrate on getting everything completed.

A bad office chair is more like a compass
If you have a poor quality office chair that tight deadline is going to seem much more like making that road trip with a compass. It’s probably going to be OK for the first half hour, or so. And yet as the day wears on it starts leaving you feeling worn out.

Maybe the foam in the seat and back padding has flattened with continual use and no longer provides good comfort and support. Or the back seems to have a mind of its own, when you recline to relax for a moment.

And if only those arms adjusted, they always seem to get in the way and the hard plastic tops are killing your lower arms.

As the project deadline approaches you become more and more pressured as you begin to get further behind.

What sort of features makes good ergonomic office chairs different?
For a start they are likely to have top quality foams which bounce back to shape even after years of use. And in the case of a chair like Herman Miller’s Embody the 4 ply support suspension makes it feel like you are floating rather than sitting.

A lot of chairs have automatic adjusting recline functions, so as you lean back the chair senses your weight and where you are applying pressure and automatically compensates giving proper back support. A good example of this is HÅG’s Futu chair which even includes some fine tuning if required, however most will find the standard auto adjuster fine.

Adjustable arms can help make the work experience much more enjoyable, especially the more flexible ones which don’t just alter in height. They also adjust in width, angle and front to back as well, making it easy to get perfect arm comfort.

Here's where you can find a quick summary of Herman Miller chairs as well as other quality office chairs from a variety of different manufacturers to help you work long hours without distraction.

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How Technology Is Changing The Humble Office Chair: Crossing Bridges In Thinking

Sayl chair

Herman Miller Sayl Chair

What has San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge got to do with office chair design? More than you might think.

It was the inspiration for designer Yves Béhar when he came up with the concept for the suspension back for Herman Miller’s new Sayl chair, and applied similar principles to its unique back design.

It’s a great example of thinking out of the square.

But first, a little about old style office seat design.

  

How Office Chairs Used To Be Designed

Time was when a chair manufacturer thought about launching a new chair the same set of basic materials was used. In fact for a good number of manufacturers this is still the case.

You started with a 5 star base, added a gas lift, married it to a mechanism and connected it all to a seat pan, back and arms and the end result was a new chair.

Apart from maybe a new type of mechanism the changes were mostly cosmetic. Perhaps you used a sexier looking 5 star base, reshaped the back and seat a bit and maybe used a new range of upholstery to add appeal.

At the end of the day it wasn’t hugely different to what had gone before.

What Started The Change In Office Chair Design?

Probably the launch of the Aeron back in 1994 was what really shook the
market up.

Here was a radically different chair that didn’t have any foam padding and fabric upholstery, instead it had this open mesh known as the pellicle. Not only that it looked distinctly odd.

In fact, it was a major gamble by Herman Miller as initial soundings at the time were pretty negative.

Nonetheless, Miller kept its nerve and introduced it and the rest as they say is history. The Aeron has gone on to become one of the best selling and best known office chairs of all time and still sells well today.

Why This Started Alarm Bells Ringing

The Aeron effect brought about 2 fundamental changes in the office chair market. First, it contributed to the launch of many imitations and as a result mesh upholstered chairs can be found at all levels in the market. Second, it acted as a wake up call for others in the industry showing it was time for a radical rethink on new products if they didn't want to lose ground.

The Quality End Of The Market Has Become The Domain of Big Hitters

Creating chairs the old way wasn’t very difficult and the cash outlay for the most part was affordable.

Not anymore. Creating chairs the new way involves a huge outlay of time and money.
Take for instance the soon to be launched Sayl chair. In a recent article in the UK’s Independent Newspaper about the Sayl it drew attention to the 70 prototypes, 3 years of development and $13 million investment, a sum clearly beyond all but the big boys to invest in producing a single office chair range.

Clearly Miller expects big things and is prepared to take a long-term view. Little wonder quality office chairs cost what they do when you have this kind of outlay to recoup and this will be one of its lower priced chairs.

Chairs Are Being Made With Materials That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

These days major manufacturers are prepared to invest heavily in new seating products to come up with what they hope will be a world-beating product.

Top designers are taken on to develop radical new concepts, starting from scratch they come up with fresh ideas and possibilities which they then turn into reality.

Recent examples of these innovative designs include Knoll’s Generation Chair, Humanscale’s Liberty, Steelcase’s Think and a trio from Herman Miller in the Embody, Setu and Sayl.

How Has All This Innovation Helped End Users?

The development of new products like these represents a major improvement in seating comfort for office workers and has helped to:

• Enhance user comfort and give proper support throughout the day
• Simplify product use by automating certain functions
• Significantly reduce product weight making them easier to move and position
• Huge advances in environmentally friendly components and recyclability
• 10 year plus warranty giving confidence in the product’s quality
• Enhance styling and design while still maintaining functionality and ease of use

In a future post I’ll take a look at some of these amazing design ideas and how they have helped improve office sitting comfort.

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