Much like the ear-inspired radio chip we mentioned last week, Herman Miller’s new Setu chair defers to human physiology for expertise and inspiration. Designed by Studio 7.5, the chair is an answer to uncomfortable seating that pushes the human body into uncomfortable, unnatural, and ultimately unhealthy positions. The design team wanted to create a seat that would suit both temporary and long term uses—a chair for those who need to plop down for only a bit while they check their email, or for office employees who will be seated for hours on end. At the same time, they wanted a chair that would simplify the byzantine knobs and levers that adjust most ergonomic chairs, allowing for a comfortable range of motion that was above all, natural.
Their solution is a synthetic spine—an artificial companion to the human backbone that mimics its form and protects its posture. The curved, plastic spine is rigid enough to provide proper support, while flexible enough to permit a range of reclining, all the while comfortably pushing one into an ergonomic position while seated. The chair’s spine widens toward its base, and is filled with a stack of mixed polypropylene and rubber vertebrae, allowing for movement that is fluid and natural.