ARTICLES

The Zeph Chair - Herman Miller 

Interview by Sophie Lanigan. Special thanks to SJB Director Ljiljana Gazevic

Essay
Rachel Weinberg

Zeph Chair by Herman Miller

“Design is intelligence made visible.” For Herman Miller, design is the amalgamation of innovation and service. For over a century, they have advanced how we interact with furniture and navigate around contemporary office and work spaces today. Their Zeph chair, first released in June 2022, exemplifies this sentiment. With mid-century modern aesthetics and ergonomics at the forefront of its design ethos, Zeph proves that comfort and style can coexist. SJB Director Ljiljana Gazevic, whose refined aesthetics have influenced some of Australia's most exceptional residential and commercial venues, sat down with Union to shed light on the chair's artistic appeal and versatility. 

With an eye for detail and an international perspective, Gazevic's design work is both accomplished and highly contemporary. In her practice, selecting chairs and furniture during the interiors stage is crucial: it informs or influences the direction or vision of design for a specific project. "After the interior space has been fully developed," she explains, "the furniture becomes like a jewellery piece that completes the vision." Like a fine jewel, Zeph can be collected and cherished. Even more germane, the piece can be incorporated into both residential and office spaces, giving the buyer a greater flexibility to adapt and choose the chair according to their design needs. 

Zeph Chair by Herman Miller

Especially with the ever-present choice to work from home, as Gazevic reflects, employees seek comfortable, friendlier spaces to operate and design in. Even at SJB, she expresses, "we opted to be an open office space but it's very much influenced by a residential feel. Having art, nice furniture pieces, rugs, plants and so on means that residential elements are becoming more and more present." 

Zeph’s initial design concept stemmed from the Berlin based Studio 7.5 with the help of their students at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Weissensee School of Art and Design Berlin. The trio explored what it means to invest in an exquisite piece of furniture. As Studio 7.5's Carola Zwick, elucidated "[they] were longing for a product that could be a decent, honest, simple tool that would get the most important things right." In this case, comfort and style. From ample 3D modelling, they successfully crafted a one-piece seat and back that, due to its Kinematic Monoshell, used the sitter's pivot points to offer a natural recline. The trio sought to animate a shell chair that actually moved with the person sitting in it. The chair's focus on technology and recycled materials, with a 3D knit textile made from 50% post-consumer recycled content and produced with zero fabric waste, highlights the company's commitment to sustainable craftsmanship.

Zeph Chair by Herman Miller

When it comes to colour and material, the base and shell can be coordinated and swapped, granting the buyer more flexibility; they can choose a bold colour to accent the space or choose cooler tones for a more subtle colour scheme. "It's almost like waking up and deciding what you want to wear! Do you want something subdued or something bright? How do you want to feel?" Structurally, Zeph adapts the classic lines of the mid-century aesthetic to generate a high-performing swivel chair. Whilst most office chairs are robustly constructed, Zeph is slim and fine with a strong silhouette. Crafted with modern recycled materials, the chair’s frame, as Gazevic indicates “reflects the continuous evolution of Herman Miller’s design legacy.” It is a functional new design response with a great affiliation with the company’s aesthetic sensibilities.  

Playful and charming, the Zeph, with a palette of eight shell colours to choose from, ultimately invites a variety of tastes and enables those who invest to have a little fun. 

Explore the full collection and learn more about Zeph at hermanmiller.com

Zeph Chair by Herman Miller

As Studio 7.5's Carola Zwick, elucidated "[they] were longing for a product that could be a decent, honest, simple tool that would get the most important things right."
"It's almost like waking up and deciding what you want to wear! Do you want something subdued or something bright? How do you want to feel?"