A new material developed by office furniture firm Steelcase allows the material to become the mechanism of its new chair design, SILQ.
The new high-performance polymer material emulates the qualities of carbon fiver at a mass market price, and is currently pending patent.
The material, combined with the curves of the design, allows SILQ to respond to the natural movements of the human body without the mechanisms typically required in high-performance office seating.
Steelcase described SILQ as a “chair that behaves more like an organism than a machine”, adding that it is a new archetype in office seating.
“We took inspiration from aerospace, the motion of a high-performance prosthetic leg and sculpture, among other things, to understand how the combination of advanced materials and shape could create a simple system that is incredibly thin, extremely strong and highly responsive,” said James Ludwig, vice president, global design and engineering.
He explained that the team had a vision for a new way of designing office chairs, with the intention to replace the hundreds of parts that makes the chair fully adjustable with a simple system where “the material becomes the mechanism”.
The chair was first created using premium carbon fiber, however the prototyping continued until the team invented a new material and manufacturing process, which resulted in the high-performace polymer that behaves like carbon fiber.
“The way SILQ is shaped, what it is made of and the way it performs are inseparable,” continued Ludwig.” We pushed the boundaries of materials science and the material became the mechanism.”
SILQ targets the behaviours of today’s workplace where people move from one space to another and are less inclined to spend all day at their desk. The chair is designed to be intuitive to the users movements, and responds to the posture and stature of each unique user.
Height is the only adjustment that needs to be performed manually.
“The simplicity of this chair means anyone who sits in SILQ is going to be supported and delighted no matter where or how they are working,” said Ludwig.
SILQ offers a variety of material combinations, including digital printing options, to allow interior designers to have more flexibility within their projects.
The product will be available in the Middle East and Africa in the Fall of 2018.