Thomas E. Warren’s “Centripetal Spring” chair is the forerunner of Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf’s Aeron chair, designed nearly 150 years later. Both are made principally of metal, raised on casters for mobility, rotate on a central column, and allow for adjustment of the angle of the seat. The very different look of the chairs suggests the ways that consumer attitudes toward industrial invention and modernity have evolved over the centuries. Although Warren’s chair bears a patent mark (on the bottom of the seat), he felt the need to mitigate the newness of his invention by concealing its ingenious metal spring system beneath a dense, soft curtain of luxurious passementerie (elaborate trim). Similarly, he disguised his progressive use of cast iron for the frame by rendering it in the backward-looking Rococo Revival style and gilding it. In contrast, the makers of the Aeron chair reveal its mechanical elements, celebrate its recycled man-made materials, and use a monochromatic black to underline the seriousness of the design, all without fear of losing customers.
Recycled aluminum, recycled polymer
40 3/4 x 28 1/4 x 21 3/4 in. (103.5 x 71.8 x 55.2 cm) (show scale)
"Herman Miller" molded into back of chair crest, at center. Underneath chair seat: White paper adhesive label indicating product's conformation to California's laws regarding flammability.
This item is not on view
Gift of Herman Miller Inc.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Don Chadwick (American, born 1936). Aeron Chair, designed 1994. Recycled aluminum, recycled polymer, 40 3/4 x 28 1/4 x 21 3/4 in. (103.5 x 71.8 x 55.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Herman Miller Inc., 2005.65. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2005.65_PS2.jpg)
overall, 2005.65_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Black biomorphic swivel armchair raised on base of five castors radiating from central pedestal. Underneath chair seat is lever/pump mechanism to adjust seat height, etc, encased in molded black plastic, white graphics on rounded lever handles indicate usage. Wide seat of stretched black elastic material with a perforated vertical stripe pattern, the front of the chair seat curving downwards. Two adjustable padded biomorphic rectangular armrests emerge from sides of chair back. Trapezoidal chair back, also of stretched black elastic material of same perforated vertical pattern, curves back at crest. A firm ridged oval support pillow behind lower seat back.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.