Bill Stumpf once said,
"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."
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.
When he looked around, though, too often he saw design that "denies the human spirit," architecture that acknowledged money and not people, offices that were "hermetically sealed in artificial space." He constantly battled against such designed indignity—a battle that began in the 1960s at the University of Wisconsin.
During his lifetime, Stumpf—a key figure in Herman Miller's transformation into a research-based, problem-solving innovator—received numerous awards for this 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.
Awards / Recognition:
- Best of NeoCon Silver, Ergonomic Desk/Task Seating, for Embody, 2009
- Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards, Product Design winner, 2006
- Time magazine, Design: Best of the Decade for Equa chair, 1990
- IBD Gold Award for Ethospace interiors, 1985
- IBD Gold Award for Equa chair, 1984
- ID magazine "Designer of the 70s," 1979
- ASID Award for Ergon seating, 1976