It’s difficult to imagine a time when computer chairs just simply didn’t exist. However, with the rise of desk jobs in the mid-1800s, engineers figured out a way to make sitting down all day more comfortable. However, ergonomics wasn’t a thing yet (was it even a word back then?) and styles erred on the side of tying the room together more than they did practicality. Certainly, even by 1948, Ray and Charles Eames had more aesthetically-focused objectives in mind when they developed the first unupholstered chair made from a single piece of plastic.
The Eames Shell Chair is still iconic and has gone through many iterations, and is a staple of the mid-century modern movement. On the other side of the room, you have Herman Miller’s Aeron computer chair, introduced in 1994 and a staple in its own right, built during a time in history when the internet was booming, to say the least. Offices around the country were riddled with these task chairs, which were made for all-day computer sitting during the dot-com bubble. Now, Herman Miller has essentially combined both icons into one with the debut of its Zeph chair.
Part office chair, part mid-century modern homage, the Zeph takes the idea of a Shell Chair and provides it with the ergonomic structure of an office chair, swivel and all. Where past versions of the “Eames Task Chair” have provided a reclining function that feels odd, the Zeph has been designed to use your body’s natural pivot points to support you as you lean, with the chair’s seat and back moving separately at different rates to provide a counterbalance and overall comfort. The chair itself maintains a monoshell structure thanks to 3D printing.
Like everything Herman Miller does, the Zeph is made out in an array of colors and options, including a bartop stool version and interchangeable 3D Knit seat cushions, which come in 20 colorways to mix and match with the 8 unique chair colors. More customization options are to come in the future. Herman Miller also set out to make the chair more affordable than most of its ergonomic offerings. As a result, the Zeph Chair is priced from just $495.