Herman Miller’s regal collection of ergonomic chairs has a new set of pawns. The Zeph Multipurpose Chair is affordable, easy to use, good for your back, and guaranteed for 12 years. It’s also designed for those who can’t be bothered with complex ergonomics. Here’s a first look at a great new option for both office and work-from-home purposes.
Herman Miller describes its new Zeph as an entry-level model designed for many uses:
“Improve the comfort of your work, hobby, dining, or living area. This versatile design instantly responds to your movements to provide total support.
Height is the only thing you need to set, which is easily done with the push of a lever.”
Zeph Chairs From Herman Miller $495-$645
Zeph Chair Overview
The Zeph chair is not ergonomic. An ‘ergonomic’ chair is defined as one with adjustable arms, lumbar support, and recline. The Zeph has none of these.
The seat height is the only manual adjustment you can make with this chair. Even so, it provides solid postural support with deliciously simple recline mechanics.
The Zeph comes in a choice of 7 fully-dipped frame colors and 15 different seat fabric colors.
You can choose one with arms or without, plus padded or not:
- Armless version: costs $495 or $595 with a padded seat.
- Armrest version: costs $545 standalone or $645 with a padded seat.
The seat bucket is a polymer mono shell that self-adjusts as the user moves. Optional 3D-Knit Textiles are made from 50% post-consumer recycled content.
Zeph Chairs $495-$645 From Herman Miller
The Zeph chair’s parts warranty covers 3-shifts x 7 days a week for 12 years.
The back support comes in the form of a built-in synchronous tilt. The backrest gives you 15° of flex. As you lean back, the tension gets stronger until it stops. During the recline, the seat tilts up.
This delivers a recline that feels natural. The geometry uses your body’s own pivot points to create the right counterbalances.
As a result, without even trying, you’ll find yourself feeling supported and energized as you move around in the chair.
Zeph Chair Sizing
Herman Miller hasn’t yet released a size rating for these chairs. Based on the dimensions, they’re a good fit for people of short-to-average height (around 5’4″ to 6’0″) and moderate weight.
|Spec||Armless||Armless With Seat Pad||With Arms|
|Seat size||22.17″ (W) x 17″ (D)||same as above||same as above|
While the seats are wide enough for big bodies, the weight limit isn’t clear. As a reference, the Herman Miller Aeron supports 300 pounds. Expect the Zeph to handle a similar load.
Who Are Zeph Chairs For?
Last year, Herman Miller acquired Knoll. MillerKnoll is now the world’s largest office furniture company. Soon after the merger, MillerKnoll laid out a step-by-step plan for domination. That noted a keen desire from corporations to upgrade their workspaces.
“We are seeing a push toward investing in the workplace… to create premium spaces and differentiated employee experiences.” The stated goal: “Help our customers rethink their own workplaces to shape their cultures and increase productivity.”
Beyond the office, Zeph chairs address a major work-from-home problem. Studies have shown that the majority of desk workers have no understanding or interest in healthy computing posture.
When sent to work from home without the right equipment, productivity — and wellness — plummet. But even with the right equipment, improper usage can negate potential benefits.
The simplicity of the Zeph chair’s back support tackles such ineptitude with foolproof finesse.
Current Use Cases
Herman Miller touts the Zeph as the ultimate work-and-live-from-home chair “Improve the comfort of your work, hobby, dining, or living area with the revolutionary Zeph Chair. This versatile design instantly responds to your movements to provide total support.”
Here are some other cases where the Zeph can prove useful:
- Fortune 500 companies: seating entry-level staff on Zeph chairs will make them look and feel better while working.
- Healthy musician seating: a Zeph chair without arms can provide heavenly support for guitarists, bassists, etc.
- Private schools and study centers: those who can afford to seat students in Zeph chairs will gain happy and motivated students.
Future Use Cases
Herman Miller has big plans for the Zeph chair. On its Meet The Zeph Chair page, it promises that an entire family of Zeph chairs is coming soon.
In the works are new knit options, base colors, and base functionality. Each comes with the Zeph’s sync-tilt functionality that makes it easy to sit upright. Possibilities:
- Stools: for architects, lab workers, engineers, and others who work while perched.
- Zeph without wheels: upscale restaurants and cafes can seat customers in stylish comfort.
The Zeph was designed by Studio 7.5, the team who previously designed the Cosm chair. Their goal wasn’t to build a budget chair. Rather, it was to boil down the true essence of an ergonomic chair into something easy for anyone to use.
That’s what the Kinematic Monoshell does. It delivers a natural recline that uses the sitter’s natural pivot points to create counterbalances.
On top of that, the expansive color palette takes inspiration from the 1950s. Then, the post-war era was happy, playful, and optimistic about the future.
The Studio 7.5 team describes their finished product as a solid entry-level experience — that’s worthy of the Herman Miller name.
It’s pretty, easy to use, good for your back, and guaranteed for 12 years. If you’re annoyed by ergonomic adjustability and prefer out-of-the-box support, check out this exciting new option!