I was saddened to hear that Bill Stumpf died last Wednesday (August 31st) at the age of 70. He was the creator of the Ergon, Equa and Aeron chairs (the latter two with his long-time collaborator Don Chadwick).
Herman Miller’s site has a nice obituary, from which comes this great quote that sums up much of Stumpf’s philosophy:
“I work best when I’m pushed to the edge,” he once said, “when I’m at the point where my pride is subdued, where I’m an innocent again. Herman Miller knows how to push me that way, mainly because the company still believes—years after D.J. DePree first told me—that good design isn’t just good business, it’s a moral obligation. Now that’s pressure.”
Stumpf didn’t design many things - quality, not quantity, was his strong suit. But each chair he designed changed the furniture industry when it came out, and set the bar in terms of aesthetics and ergnomics that others were forced to follow. That’s a track record that anyone can aspire to.
(Tip of the hat to xBlog.)