Beautifully designed ergonomic office chairs

Sayl chair designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller.

Sayl chair, designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller.

The Sayl chair is the brainchild of Yves Behar, Swiss designer, creative thinker, and founder of fuseproject (“dedicated to the emotional experience of brands through storytelling”).

“I believe design’s purpose is not only to show us the future, but to bring us the future,” – Yves Behar.

Although he grew up in Switzerland, Behar was influenced from childhood by his East German mother and Turkish father, “One is functional and modernist and the other, expressive and poetic,” he says, “I always try to marry the two in my projects.” Béhar has been exploring the design world from a young age, “In Europe, it is double nature to evaluate objects based on how they work and how they look,” he explains.

Graduating from the Art Center College of Design, he started out working with high tech Silicon Valley clients such as Apple and Hewlett Packard, eventually gravitating into the sport, apparel, technology and furniture arenas.

One of the countless magazine articles written about Béhar called him “the multi-disciplinary designer of our time.” He has won many awards including the prestigious National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, where his work remains in their permanent collection. In 2004 he had two solo exhibitions, one at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the other at the Musee de Design et D’arts Appliques Contemporains in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“When working with clients, my philosophy is to connect emotionally through ideas and content rather than style,” says Béhar. “It’s less about this or that aesthetic and more about meaningful conversations where people come to agreement in terms of approach and direction.” It was this approach that led to his collaboration with Herman Miller. Inspired by the legendary Charles and Ray Eames, Béhar wanted to contribute something to the company himself. “Design is very much at the center of Herman Miller’s culture,” he says. “So one day I just picked up the phone, called them, and said, ‘Let’s work together.'” Four years later, Herman Miller introduced his two brilliantly innovative lighting products, Leaf and Ardea.

Looking to the future, Béhar says he’s very content designing products for companies who are “looking for departure, change, transformation. I’m continually excited working with people who want to move forward into the future and onto the next generation.”

HAG Capsico 8106 chair

HAG Capsico chair in red with footring

HAG Capsico 8106 in Red fabric

HÅG has been developing, producing and marketing original office chairs since 1943. The HÅG brand is among the leaders in Europe and HÅG products are available virtually anywhere in the world. HÅG is part of Scandinavian Business Seating, Scandinavia’s leading group in the design and production of office chairs and seating solutions for private and public office environments. The group owns the Scandinavian brands HÅG, RBM and RH, which work together to realise the group’s vision to: “Make the world a better place to sit”.

I love the model shown above: HÅG Capisco 8106, it comes in a wide range of colour and accessory options to tailor it to suit the individual environment. The The seat height, seat depth and back height can be adjusted and the saddle seat can be adjusted between low and high working positions, all the way up to standing, enabling you to be more dynamic in your movements while still balanced. Movement is the key to good posture and this design supports the body in a range of working positions. I love the shape and fabric options available – especially the vibrant red, orange and yellows.

Setu chair

Setu family of upholstered chairs, designed by Studio 7.5 for Herman Miller

Detail image of the beautifully designed spine of the Setu chair designed by Studio 7.5 for Herman Miller

The Setu chair with ribbon arms

The Setu chair for Herman Miller was designed by Studio 7.5.

Studio 7.5

In 1992 designers; Burkhard Schmitz, Claudia Plikat, and Carola Zwick began their partnership based on the ethos of finding “freedom to work on projects that interested them, and for the freedom to do so without bosses and titles.” The design group operates as a collective, “Everybody does everything,” says Burkhard, speaking for the group that now includes Carola’s brother Roland Zwick. “That’s how we cultivate ideas and maintain our openness and curiosity.”

Studio 7.5 are based in an office/studio in Berlin, Germany. The group’s name comes from an early idea to rent a 7.5-ton truck, put a model shop in it, and drive from one project site to another. In terms of their creative process, the designers are involved in the whole design journey from concept stage to the model shop, sometimes within a day or two, they begin to create rough prototypes. They love the hands-on, tactile approach to designing new products, “like kids let loose with a pile of clay”. “You really have to work in three dimensions when designing products,” notes Claudia. “So we don’t spend much time on fancy renderings. Computer drawings just don’t give you the feel, the touch, the smell.”

They love designing furniture and describe it as a ‘holistic’ experience. In particular, they find designing office chairs to be the most rewarding partly due to their experience of working with Herman Miller on their award-winning Mirra chair and their newest design called the Setu chair. “We define not only how the chair looks but how it performs,” says Carola. “We’re very involved with its physical behavior, because beauty is not only what you see, it’s also what you feel.”

Quotes and information taken from the Herman Miller website, Designers: Studio 7.5 information.

Herman Miller

Herman Miller was a businessman, from West Michigan, who helped his son-in-law, D.J. De Pree, buy the Michigan Star Furniture Company in 1923. The furniture company opened in 1905 and De Pree had been working as a clerk for the company since 1909. Knowing that his father-in-law was a man of integrity, De Pree decided to rename the company after him.

By the middle of the 20th century, the name Herman Miller had become synonymous with “modern” furniture. With a portfolio of successful partnerships with legendary designers such as George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, the company produced pieces that have now become icons of industrial design.

Since then, Herman Miller has expanded it’s portfolio of  collaborations, working with some of the most outstanding designers in the world, including Alexander Girard, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Propst, Bill Stumpf, Don Chadwick, Ayse Birsel, Studio 7.5, Yves Béhar, Doug Ball, and many more.

Today, as well as classic pieces and new designs for the home, Herman Miller is a recognized innovator in contemporary interior furnishings, solutions for healthcare environments, and related technologies and services. Herman Miller has it’s headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan, manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom and sales offices, dealers, licensees, and customers in over 100 countries.

Herman Miller’s ethos is this; “Whether your world is an office, a school, a home, or a hospital—and whether you are a customer, an employee, a shareholder, or a member of our community—we work hard to create a better world around you.”


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