REVIEW | Herman Miller Cosm chair


Sitting in the office is often a necessary evil. Imagine the perfect chair which adapts seamlessly to your sitting position and makes your workday effortless. Herman Millar has created such a chair the Cosm.

It may not be a gadget in the exact sense of the word, but the new Herman Millar Cosm range of office chairs tick all the boxes for innovation based on smart technology, even though they don’t need a plug.


The Cosm is designed by Berlin-based Studio 7.5, Cosm is Herman Miller’s first task chair with an automatic tilt. It also has the industry’s first suspension armrest. Initially revealed in Milan during Salone Del Mobile 2018, the chair is now available in South Africa.

To experience Cosm is – as Studio 7.5 says – to forget gravity. This may sound like a bold statement, but in the time I had to experience the Cosm that is precisely how it felt, you can have comfort and support no matter how many settings you sit in throughout the day.

As more organisations move toward shared workplaces and work points, and many enjoy the freedom to choose the setting based on the work they need to do, one thing hasn’t changed: the need for comfort – as hours in a poor chair with inadequate support can be challenging.

Cosm offers exactly this consistency, providing unparalleled comfort and performance, making it not only great for individuals but also the perfect shared chair. Cosm rapidly adjusts to whoever is sitting in it using its hidden ‘engine’, the Auto-Harmonic Tilt™ – a culmination of two decades of design research and engineering that further deepened Herman Miller’s understanding of how people sit and work.

Auto-harmonic tilt

Hidden in Cosm’s gearbox beneath the seat is the technology that gives the feeling of balance and comfort. The Auto-Harmonic Tilt instantly and automatically provides continuous support and fluid movement corresponding to the person’s body, posture, and seated position.

Other chairs on the market with automatic tilts achieve this simplicity by compromising the experience by relying on systems that cause the body to follow the tilt mechanism, rather than the tilt following the body. Cosm’s Auto-Harmonic Tilt can understand how much tension to provide based on the downward force exerted by the person, and it gives the same experience for everyone, regardless of body type or seated position.

Iterate, iterate, iterate

Perfecting the tilt mechanism to give users this seamless experience was achieved by Studio 7.5 after years of building and testing full-scale prototypes. Studio 7.5’s iterative process was similar to that of famed Herman Miller designers, Charles and Ray Eames, with a contemporary twist.

Studio 7.5 built and tested prototypes in-house using a new 3D-printing technology blending aluminium dust and resin to create mechanically sound components. After countless iterations of 3-D printed prototypes, along with hand sculpting, tweaking, and testing, Studio 7.5 arrived at Cosm’s final form.

Suspension material

Cosm’s ergonomic support goes beyond mechanics.

The frame and fabric suspension work in tandem with the Auto-Harmonic Tilt. The continuous suspension material, Herman Miller’s new Intercept, forms to each person’s unique contours, delivering dynamic, uninterrupted support.

Intercept offers thermal comfort while standing up to years of use. The hourglass-shaped suspension attaches to the frame, creating areas of high- and low-tension that provide comfort and support where it is needed most – regardless of body size or position in the chair.

An industry first: Leaf Arms

Cosm’s arms also make it unique.

The use of suspension material over a solid form makes its Leaf Arms an industry first. Precision-designed for comfort, Leaf Arms cradle the elbow, supporting its delicate nerves even in a variety of positions. Besides, the angle of the Leaf Arms prevents them from colliding with work surfaces.

For people who would rather have a more traditional chair arm, Cosm is also available with fixed arms and height-adjustable arms, as well as without arms.

Back heights

Cosm is available in three back heights and as a stool, making it useful in a variety of applications.

The minimalist low back makes it easy for people to turn around in the chair, inviting casual conversation and collaboration. This look, in the words of Studio 7.5, ‘integrates seamlessly within a landscape of work surfaces’. Cosm’s versatile mid-back provides lower back and scapular support.

The high-back version goes one step further, providing total spinal support and experience of ‘offloading’, in which the body’s back muscles can relax fully due to support of the cervical and upper thoracic regions of the spine.


Cosm’s ‘dipped-in-color’ aesthetic is unlike any other office chair. Achieving a precise colour match on the metals, plastics, and fabrics that comprise Cosm was a technical challenge that required a great deal of colour engineering. The results of these efforts are three all-over hues that are fresh and compatible with Herman Miller’s colour palette for other products throughout the family of brands.

Cosm’s six shades—three new saturated hues and three classic Herman Miller neutrals—provide options for everyone. Canyon (a bright red-orange) is the boldest colour, while Glacier (a soft, light blue) and Nightfall (a deep navy) serve as ‘new neutrals’ in place of the neutral greys so prevalent in today’s workplace. Cosm is also available in the more familiar neutral options, Graphite, Carbon, and White (dark, medium, and light shades of grey), as well as mix-and-match variations of all of the above.

For more information on Cosm and Studio 7.5 | | |

Steven Ambrose | Techhuman | @ambio | mail me |




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