Atlas Suspension Headrest Design Story
When the Aeron Chair was first released in 1994 it reinvented our understanding of comfort and performance. The chair has continued to be a pioneer of new ergonomic technology, first with sacral support, then upgraded to its latest Remastered version. Yet, the headrest has remained a challenging and elusive component of the chair.
To solve this, a former Herman Miller engineer and former Herman Miller designer introduced an ergonomically optimized cushion headrest accessory for the Aeron chair in 2012.
The team at Atlas Headrest experimented with suspension materials early on and knew that with the right design a suspension headrest could provide great ergonomics with evenly dispersed head and neck support. They hired Joe Parr Design to take on the challenge of integrating their suspension material concepts while matching Aeron’s iconic aesthetic and world-class comfort.
With the ubiquity of laptop computers, a headrest is becoming a necessity for task seating. A laptop forces many office workers to spend their day leaning forward. Your head is equivalent to an 8+ lb. bowling ball straining your neck muscles and putting pressure on the vertebrae’s spinal discs. This hunched state is an obvious hazard considering most office workers may spend 1800 hours a year working in an office chair. Reclining can provide a relief but ergonomically it’s not much of an improvement. When your torso is in a deep recline, you need to balance your head upright. This creates the same unhealthy condition of hunching over a laptop, but just leaning back.
With a headrest, however, you ARE effectively allowing your neck to relax since it supports the weight of the head. The Atlas Suspension Headrest creates another unique benefit in its carefully designed shape forming a healthy cervical curve for your neck. Not only does it allow your neck to relax, it trains your muscles and vertebrae to rest in their correct state. This has the added benefit of forming better posture over time, since the Aeron chair with a headrest supports your spine in the same neutral position of standing.
When industrial designer Joe Parr crafted the form of the Atlas Suspension Headrest he carefully balanced its aesthetic and ergonomic benefits. “The essence of the Aeron chair’s design is serving the human body, which we’ve obsessed over matching,” says Parr.
Dozens of iterations, starting with cardboard and evolving to precision CNC were needed to perfect this headrest. Microscopic edits were dialed-in to ensure the headrest spanned the full cervical curve without interfering with the freedom of movement allowed in the chair.
The fit and finish of the suspension material and frame colors are an exact match to both original Aeron and its Remastered colors. The result is a seamless integration of the headrest. Its comfort, size, and proportion was crafted to fit all three A, B, and C Aeron sizes. The original Atlas Headrest was defined by its wide range of adjustment – fitting 95% of users. The suspension headrest works seamlessly with this system to provide the same incredible performance. So, not only will this headrest complete the look of the chair, it will further protect your investment by extending the ergonomic benefit of the Aeron
The team that has created Atlas Headrest has also brought you many other quality products from their years of work within Herman Miller. Their continued passion to perfect the office environment has lead them to create the Atlas Suspension Headrest to continue the evolution of the office’s most iconic chair.