Don Chadwick & Bill Stumpf
Bill Stumpf is a designer that works for Herman Miller. He has been part of the design of the famous Aeron and Ergon chairs. Stumpf's battle really began in the 1960s. "Everything goes back to those days at the University of Wisconsin," he says, referring to the postgraduate years he spent studying and teaching at the university's Environmental Design Center. "Everything was about freeing up the body, designing away constraints." It was there where Stumpf, working with specialists in orthopedic and vascular medicine, conducted extensive research into the ways people sit--and the ways they should sit. In 1974, Herman Miller commissioned him to apply his research to office seating. Two years later, the Ergon chair was introduced. "I work best when I'm pushed to the edge," he says, "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 knows how to push himself, too. He's taken up a quest that he expects will last for the rest of his life, reading the classics of world literature--all the books I should have read already--from Shakespeare and Melville to the Japanese novelists. In a state of constant, almost childlike curiosity, Bill Stumpf continues his wide-ranging journeys.
Don Chadwick has pioneered the use of modern materials, molding processes and mechanisms leading to cutting-edge products that have raised the standard for their market. A native of Southern California, Don Chadwick received his principal training in design at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then worked for architect Victor Gruen before establishing his own practice in 1964. In 1974, Chadwick designed Chadwick Modular Seating. In collaboration with William Stumpf he designed the Equa 1 flexing-plastic chair (1984). Then in 1994, the landmark Aeron chair catapulted Chadwick to national attention; the Industrial Designers Society of America and Business Week Magazine awarded Design of the Decade to the Aeron chair in 1999. Chadwick has received numerous awards over the past three and a half decades. Chadwick’s relationship with Knoll marks a milestone in the career of an inventive designer. “I am gratified to be part of the Knoll legacy; I consider Knoll to be at the highest level of contemporary design, and our collaboration is a notable one for me.” With the Chadwick chair, he has proven himself as effective at bringing a product to market as he has been at creating the market itself.