Vitra never really entered the tooth and nail fight to have the most up to date, feature rich, bells and whistles task chair, but they have consistently offered excellent functioning chairs with top design. They have a history of engaging the best designers for their product including a series of chairs by Anthony Citterio at a range of price points. But for this chair they turned to Alberto Meda, an industrial engineer who created this beautiful and minimalist design.
The Meda chair is not as feature rich as the Aeron competitors that we have been looking at in the most recent blog posts. It has a reclining back mechanism, and of course a tilt and swivel base, but there are no complicated linkages or overt machinery. The simple function results in a light frame, an elegant and minimal undercarriage, and a very slim profile that has to owe some inspiration to the Eames Aluminum Group chair.
the Eames Aluminum Group desk chair
Never the less the Meda does not give up function to style entirely. The chair has a unique pivot point for the back which incorporates a hinge into the side rail frames. I'm sure Charles and Ray would have done the same with theirs if the could. And the chair back is covered with a mesh fabric not unlike the Aeron.
In the years following its introduction Meda has returned to the drawing board and created a succession of additional versions of the Meda task chair which introduce more of the adjustable features you see in the competition. It gives up none of its style in the process.