News » aeron chair
by Cliff Kuang
After the great dot-com 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 $1000 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 dot-coms 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."
The Aeron was a throne perfectly tailored to Silicon Valley's vanities. With a frame of high-tech moulded plastic, a skin of woven plastic fibres pulled taut, and mechanics that accommodated slouchy rebels, the chair flattered the people who bought it. It was the best engineering money could buy, and it seemed purpose-built for squeaky-voiced billionaires inventing the future in front of a computer.