We’re a curious bunch of creatives, prone to challenging and inspiring one another each and every day. But no person challenges or inspires us more than the renowned industrial designer Bill Stumpf, our mentor, friend, and one of the studio’s founding members.
Bill had a philosophy: put people first in design. It’s a philosophy you can see throughout his career. Take his early work with Herman Miller. Bill was brought on to apply his ergonomics research into creating the Ergon, the world’s first ergonomic office chair, which responded to a person’s body movement.
Later, he applied that same philosophy to his work with Don Chadwick and Jeff Weber, an apprentice at the time. Together, the team created the Aeron, a chair designed to adapt to the individual — with its woven suspension fabric and biomorphic signature shape.
Bill’s philosophy even went on to become a founding principle of Stumpf, Weber + Associates, where Bill and Jeff worked on what would become the Embody, a chair that did more than minimize the effects of sitting but had a positive impact on the body.
Though our name may have changed, that philosophy of putting people first still remains the same. It inspires us to continue challenging the conventions of design to solve some of today’s most challenging design problems. It reminds us of where we’ve been, and it informs us of where we’re headed.
Jeff Weber is an industrial designer and principal at SWA. While his interest in design can be attributed to his grandfather, a visual artist and midcentury adman, who inspired him to think creatively and stay open to the unknown, it was Jeff’s work with Bill Stumpf that set his career in motion.
In 1989, Jeff got the opportunity of a lifetime: an apprenticeship with Bill, a pioneer in ergonomic seating. The two worked together on the Aeron, a chair for Herman Miller that would later become part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
A few years later, Jeff and Bill founded Stumpf, Weber + Associates, where the pair collaborated on a number of award-winning projects together. Like Bill, Jeff draws his inspiration for design from how people live their lives. It’s informed his work in everything from wearable technology to cutting-edge healthcare.
When not at the studio, you can often find Jeff picking up a game of ice hockey or hitting the water for a little waterskiing. That is, of course, if he hasn’t already found is way to a local craft brewery in the burgeoning warehouse district of Minneapolis.
Popular Science Innovation of the Year (Healthcare)
Top prize at the IDSA Plastics News Design Awards at NPE2012 International Plastics Showcase.
Society of the Plastic Industry Inc.’s (SPI) design award in the medical and scientific category.
US® Chair Named 2012 Good Design™ Award Winner
Best of Year Honoree by Interior Design magazine.
Embody Chair receives FX International Interior Design award in Best Workplace Seating category
International Plastics Design Competition award
Best of NeoCon Silver in the Ergonomic Desk/Task Seating category.
Envelop desk and Setu chair receive Interior Design magazine's Best of Year product awards.
Envelop desk receives the National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition Attendees' Choice award.
Embody chair named "Best of 2008" by WIRED magazine.
Embody chair named "Best of Tech" for 2008 by Yahoo Tech.
Embody chair named People's Choice at National Ergonomics Conference and Exhibition.
Best of NeoCon, Gold Award in "Seating Desk/Task Chairs" for the Caper chair
Aeron work stool wins Attendees' Choice Award from the National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition.
Fast Company magazine hails Herman Miller's Aeron chair and Eames Lounge among the 15 best-designed consumer products of the past 100 years
Aeron Chair named one of "Designs Greatest Hits" in Your Company magazine
Aeron: "Designs of the Decade" Gold Winner in "Office Furniture" from the Industrial Designers Society of America & Business Week magazine
SWA has been in the same location for more than 20 years, and for good reason. Besides being near one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, just a stone’s throw from Target Field, the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, and a bevy of local craft breweries, restaurants, and retail shops, Minneapolis itself has a rich, diverse, and progressive culture that adds to the vibrancy of our fair hamlet.
As the area continues to gain accolades for its quality of life, bike-friendliness, year-round events, and hipness, (yes, the Midwest can be hip), we can’t ever imagine setting up shop in any other place. In fact, we’d love to show you around the neighborhood — and give you a tour of our studio, of course — so stop by anytime. We’ve got lots in store for you!