One Size Fits All, Herman Miller Embody Review

Over the past decade and a half Herman Miller has firmly established itself “the” company to go to with all your seating needs. The original Aeron Chair came to symbolize the dot com era. Any and everyone had to have one in office to be certified “cool.” The mesh design, fully adjustable design, and 3 sizes to choose from made it one of a kind. Flash forward 15 years and they’re set to do it again with the new Embody chair taking the one size fits all ethos by further improving a number of adjustable features. The design is striking, even a little futuristic. It’ll set you back $1,600 USD but if you don’t have the money to buy one, you can win one. Herman Miller’s ThoughtPile website asks a single question everyday to which visitors are invited to answer with their best ideas. The most popular idea wins the Embody chair. Today’s question is “how can we keep our cities vital?”

The Embody is a huge improvement over the Aeron. A series of complex mesh layers provide ample cushioning. The gridlock maze-like feature on the back is more than just an aesthetic design decision. With a twist of a knob, they tighten or loosen providing the perfect amount of support. The arm rests slide up and down. The seat slides forward for those with longer limbs. Height and drop tension are ingenuously controlled by a knob/joystick combo. The Aeron had multiple switches and knobs to manipulate a partial list of features the Embody possesses. The new control system helps maintain the Embody’s sleek profile by consolidating all those controls.

Build quality is excellent. There are few chairs that can compete with the exception of some ridiculously expensive chairs from Japan and the cradle-to-cradle certified Acuity chair by Allsteel. Still most will probably choose the Embody for the Herman Miller name alone. We all knew the Aeron was to be replaced someday and it seems the company has made huge inroads with their design and manufacturing capabilities. The Embody is in a class of its own.

What we liked:

  • Amazing design, unique
  • Fully customizable options and adjustable features
  • Thin flexible cellulose cushioning repeals heat and moisture
  • Amazing back support using a system of tension points
  • Exceptional build, no squeaking
  • Clean modern design

What could be improved:

  • The price, $1,600 approaches the price of carbon fiber Japanese chairs

Designer: Herman Miller

Win one at!


  • Armin says:

    Very nice, except for the base.

    It doesn’t seem to fit the seating, especially the wheels. Everything says 25th century but the wheels. Some spheres better incorporated in the legs would’ve been nice.

  • dude says:

    I really like (office)chairs which are designed to achieve ergonomic improvements. But does it have to look like this? Somehow I was thinking about some crutches…

  • jahan says:

    How much is that product…?
    Back Support,One…?

    I have one that is 59.99 and could have been heard you too.
    I mean can be heard RadioooooUUUUUU!


  • e-paz says:

    this is industrial design

  • eric says:

    i agree with armin, the seat and base are not integrated. i would still ove to try it though. the aeron chair is the most comfortable chair that i have ever sat in

  • Henrique Staino says:

    I agree too. They could have created a better base. Not only visually but functionally better too.

  • JStone says:

    Personally, I’m a bit disappointed with the final form the chair. I will say that sometimes form directed by pure function can produce some great results, but after reading herman miller’s copy it is apparent that this chair is going to try to solve the “global warming” of task chairs. Given the number of constraints in a task chair, and the number of functional challenges the chair tried to accommodate, I wonder if the old saying “too many promises of function might produce ugly results (i made that up) might have occurred. I take issue mainly with the “human body inspired seat juxtaposed against the very unrefined (in my view) back support system. The design of the support reads more like an architectural glass wall brace structure than an interpretation of the biological body. On the whole, there was some serious design going on here, with some really cool innovations. The herman miller copy reads, “A set of important innovations makes this possible.
    1. Instinctive back: Inspired by the human spine, Embody’s back adapts to your unique spinal curvature..
    2. Pixelated seat: When you move, the seat moves with you…
    Embody’s form is defined by these health-positive features. The technology of the chair is not hidden. Instead, it’s a purposeful part of the aesthetic, giving the chair its intriguing look–a “visual feast,” said Stumpf.
    3. Zoned Support: The chair removes stresses on your body at every contact point, accommodating a diverse population…
    4. Working Recline: Embody’s unique tilt mechanism encourages working recline, the most healthful working position…
    5. Inclusive Sizing: Embody accommodates nearly everyone’s abilities, dimensions, and preferences within one chair size…
    Embody’s form is defined by these health-positive features. The technology of the chair is not hidden.”

    I’m sure some people will love this chair, I’m just not quite sold that this is the Aeron successor.

    and what is up with recycling the old base off the Aeron?

  • Kung Fu Jesus says:

    i like the design, it’s not as stunning as the aeron chair was in ’94 but i know HM hardly does anything halfassed. i think it’s a nice departure. i haven’t tested one yet, but i know the people behind it and i’m sure it sits very well.

    i think it’s a testament to bill stumpf’s career and partnership with HM.

    as far as the other chairs go, if you take into consideration the time and era each of the designs, their comfort is actually quite good. i know HM uses weight and temperature sensors for testing along with extensive user research, perhaps the most in the biz.

    also, i know HMs reverence and regard for their past design classics, they wouldn’t alter the form of an eames or nelson design to make it fit better.

    that said, i have an eames lounge chair and an eames softpad aluminum lounge in my home, i prefer the softpad for long sits. i keep that one in my home office. i put the eames plywood lounge in the living room because it’s still very pimp and guests are drawn to it.

    shifting around while seated is actually very common. it’s impossible and unhealthy to sit perfectly still in any posture for very long. i remember a study i did at HM where we monitored about 500 hours of people working at their stations to record the postures and movements. somewhat tedius, but the results were very interesting.

  • Alp says:

    i like the design. Well done, nice improvements and form design. like the futuristic looks, we all need inspiring products in our environments. This is surely one of those..

  • monkey face says:

    yea… but does it come in blue…

  • DuncanM says:

    I agree the price is a bit hefty at $1600, however it’s likely to be offered around the $1,100 -$1,200 mark once it’s fully launched. Still by no means cheap, it’ll be interesting to see how well it does in the current financial environment.

  • jtnoonan says:

    The Embody is finally available! $1600 seems pretty steep for a chair, but I gotta know what the fuss is all about. Only a few sites have them, but I used – seemed like the most legit site.

  • Hairy_Porker says:

    i like the design… but not the color… 😛

  • MikeDC says:

    Bottom line, it looks awful. The fascination with HM is lost on me. The Aeron chair is the most uncomfortable chair I was ever forced to use (ok, maybe better than a park bench). Did anyone else ever notice…THERE IS NO PADDING. That’s probably fine for most overweight Americans, but I’m thin and have no ass, so it’s a killer.

  • Matteo Trisolini says:

    Don't care it’s a chair I just what it because of the curve on the back – is so carefully controlled its just sexy to look at!

  • Wizard of Boz says:

    Just got one (a Herman Miller Embody). It rocks.

  • JP Office says:

    The chair base cheapens the look. Otherwise I think the design is great.

  • JasonL says:

    Quite a lot of chairs with better aesthetics + ergonomic are available in the market.

    Is this price justified just because its herman miller?

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