Even though Don Chadwick has achieved acclaim for his work on some of the world’s most iconic furniture, he’s still at it. He’s still in Southern California. He’s still getting his hands dirty. He’s still refining his process and sharpening his eye for design. And he’s still having fun.
Chadwick will admit that plenty has changed over the years, including his process. For instance, he’s more attuned to the digital aspects of design like sketching on screen versus on paper. But there is one thing about Chadwick’s design process that hasn’t changed in the 40-plus years he’s been designing—his curiosity. He continues to question the way designers and manufacturers use sustainable materials to improve the ways people live and work, through design.
Recently, Chadwick revisited his and Stumpf’s most successful design, the Aeron Chair. The designer and Herman Miller worked together for nearly two years to update almost every element of the chair for what people today need from an ergonomic chair. With Chadwick’s leadership, today’s Aeron is reengineered to encourage more healthful sitting, readjusted to be more responsive, reconsidered to fit people better, and refined to fit in well in contemporary environments.
Since childhood, Chadwick has found inspiration in the great outdoors. He still hikes the hills of West LA with Stanley, his Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, seeking the inspiration to influence his next design—however innovative it may be. “I still have the excitement,” says Chadwick. “And the curiosity. That’s what’s important.”