Since the rise of desk jobs in the mid-19th century, engineers have continued to work on ways to make sitting down more comfortable. However, it wasn’t until the advent of Herman Miller’s Aeron computer chair in 1994, which came around right at the dawn of the internet boom, that ergonomics got brought into the fray. After that, you could hardly walk into a dot-com startup without countless task chairs flooding the office space — and you still can’t. In the decades before, desk chairs seemed to be aesthetic-first pieces of furniture with ergonomics nary in the picture. But with Herman Miller’s latest release, the design firm asks, “Why can’t you have both?”
No stranger to beautiful pieces of furniture, the Michigan-based company has now partnered with Tokyo-based designer Naoto Fukasawa on the Asari task chair. Available in eight monochromatic colorways, the upholstered unit appears to be more of a conversation piece than it does a model you could sit down on all day. However, the design, ready in both high- and mid-back styles, is made for today’s ever-changing work environment. It’s given a synchronous self-adjusting tilt to go along with the user’s lean and a PostureFit construction on the lower back which helps fill in gaps for a seamless, supportive sit. Likewise, the contoured seat pad provides support while minimizing pressure points on your rear and spine.
Japanese for “clam,” the Asari evokes the shell of its namesake creature through its curved shape and segmented back piece. In partnership with interiors creator Maharam, the woven textiles used on the chairs are made from sustainably-sourced wool and polyester from Europe. There’s also a leather option, using premium material sourced from a boutique tannery in Northern Italy.
If you want one for yourself, it won’t come cheap. The Asari task chair retails for $1,395 from Herman Miller dealers. Contract customers can also choose from bespoke blended options with over 180 color combinations.