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Bill Stumpf

Bill Stumpf

US, 1936 - 2006

"I work best when I'm pushed to the edge. When I'm at the point where my pride is subdued, where I'm innocent again. Herman Miller knows how to push me that way, mainly because the company still believes—years after D.J. De Pree first told me—that good design isn't just good business, it's a moral obligation. Now that's pressure." - Bill Stumpf

William Eugene "Bill" Stumpf  was a designer for Herman Miller who helped design the Aeron (with Don Chadwick) and Embody chairs (with Jeff Weber). It was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Stumpf, working with specialists in orthopedic and vascular medicine, conducted extensive research into ergonomics, specifically in the way people sit.

Stumpf's association with Herman Miller began in 1970 when he joined the staff of the Herman Miller Research Corporation. After establishing his own firm in 1972, Stumpf created the Ergon chair, the first ergonomic work chair. Later, in collaboration with Don Chadwick, he produced the groundbreaking Equa and iconic Aeron chairs. He also was principal designer for the Ethospace system.

During his lifetime, Stumpf—a key figure in Herman Miller's transformation into a research-based, problem-solving innovator—received numerous awards for his work. He was named the winner of the 2006 National Design Award in Product Design, an award presented posthumously by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Stumpf died in 2006.

 

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