As a kid, Jeff Weber was fascinated by the way things worked. “I was always tinkering—either building things or tearing them apart,” he says. Watching his mechanical talents develop, his grandfather suggested a career in industrial design. Once he learned more, “I never really thought about doing anything else,” recalls Weber.
Today Weber uses his considerable talents to design products that enhance people’s lives. “There should always be a human benefit associated with whatever we’re designing,” he explains. “It's all about stimulating a person’s senses in a positive way.”
Weber became interested in furniture design when he teamed up with Bill Stumpf, who worked with Herman Miller for 30 years. “Bill’s design spirit will inspire all my future work,” says Weber. Take Stumpf’s “uni-part” theory: “It says that all components of an object must have a functional purpose as well as an aesthetic one,” says Weber. “It’s a fundamental principle we employ every day.”
Integral to Weber’s design process is research. When designing Herman Miller’s Embody Chair, Weber and the Herman Miller team spent nearly two years talking with experts in various fields of medicine, from specialists in upper-extremity conditions to optometrists and neurologists. It was all part of his effort to gain a real understanding of what it takes “to support a body in space in a healthful way and enable motion at the same time,” he says.
“The human body is a constant source of inspiration for me,” he continues. “Workplace demands and responsibilities may change, but the human element remains relatively the same. My challenge is, ‘How can I produce something that will actually improve that condition?’ ” For Weber, the most satisfying part of his work is watching someone enjoy the outcome. “Seeing someone sitting in a chair and appreciating the logic and rationale behind it is very gratifying.”