Herman Miller unveils $1,595 Aeron chair successor


— 1:31 PM on October 6, 2008

We like chairs here at TR. At least three of our editors have high-end, ergonomic office chairs, and we've bragged about them in blogs and podcasts before. So, unsurprisingly, the launch of Herman Miller's new top-of-the-line caught our eye.

Fortune says the new Embody chair will succeed the Aeron, the iconic chair that's been a staple of Silicon Valley offices since its debut 14 years ago. Aeron creator Bill Stumpf went back to the drawing board in 2002, and he put together a prototype just before his death in 2006. A total of six years (and a few million dollars) later, Herman Miller is ready to start selling Embody chairs this month at $1,595 a pop.

What makes the Embody unique? To start with, the chair has a four-layer seat with a mesh cover that allows air to pass through:

Flip the chair upside down and you'll see black elastic bands that provide universal suspension. A second layer of plastic coils provides extra support, and a third layer of plastic hexagons moves independently as users shift their weight. Finally, the seat cover allows air to pass through, cooling the user's body.

The back is more sophisticated than the Aeron's, too, with a network of H-shaped plastic supports and a narrow shape designed to let users open their shoulders. Fortune's Paul Keegan mentions in this video that the Embody has seven knobs and levers for things like changing the seat depth, tweaking lumbar support, and more. Also, Herman Miller reportedly makes this thing out of 96% recyclable material.

Of course, $1,600 is a lot to pay for any chair. That's not far from what the Aeron cost when it came out, though, and Fortune says that product has generated $1.5 billion in revenue for Herman Miller. If the Embody becomes anywhere near as popular, it could be a big hit.

   
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