Apple is leading a revolution in office chairs

“If you know one office chair by name, it’s probably the Aeron. Released in 1994, its radical, high-tech exoskeleton design was a sensation, and the chair went on to become that rare piece of furniture to emerge as a pop-­culture signifier,” Cliff Kuang reports for Bloomberg Businessweek. “In 1995 it appeared as the lone piece of set decoration in a Levi Strauss & Co. Super Bowl commercial; later, it served as a plot point in an episode of Will & Grace.”

“The Pacific, a task chair from Swiss furniture giant Vitra that hits the market this winter, illustrates how ideas about work have changed since then,” Kuang reports. “It comes in three backrest heights and a plastic or aluminum finish; it can be upholstered with four fabrics in dozens of hues, ranging from pale pink to sandy beige. There are also two types of leather — including one in a smooth cowhide with a flat grain and fine top sheen — in an additional 22 colors. The base price is $1,185, but a high-backed, premium caramel leather version runs closer to $3,500.”

Vitra's Pacific task chair
Vitra’s Pacific task chair

“It has far to go to duplicate the Aeron’s success — 1,500 of the latter are sold every day, making it 7 million since 1994. A new one pops off the assembly line every 17 seconds,” Kuang reports. “But the Pacific has already racked up what might be the highest honor any design can receive in 2017: Its first customer was Jony Ive, Apple Inc.’s chief design officer. Ive is friends with Barber and Osgerby; during a social visit soon after they landed the Vitra commission, they sketched their early idea for him. Ive, as it happened, wasn’t finding any chairs he liked for Apple’s new 12,000-person headquarters designed by architect Norman Foster. ‘He looked, raised an eyebrow, and said, ‘That’s interesting,” Osgerby recalls. Ive eventually ordered one for every office desk on campus, each fitted with a custom-made fabric in a serene, deep-sea blue.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s a nice sale.


  1. Humm. Just because Mr. Ive liked one and ordered thousands of them for an office building is hardly driving a revolution in office chairs!
    Mr. Ive also owns a cylindrical shaped computer called a “Pro” but that didn’t drive a revolution in computer case design either.

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