Architecture & Design, Manufacturing, and Technology

Furniture maker debuts 'intuitively' responsive chair

February 2, 2018
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Steelcase SILQ office chair
The SILQ office chair. Courtesy Steelcase

A local furniture maker has debuted a new chair that adapts to a user’s posture with fewer mechanisms.

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase unveiled this week SILQ, an office chair made from polymer materials “that emulate the qualities of carbon fiber at a mass-market price.”

“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, VP of global design and engineering, Steelcase.

Ludwig and his team have been developing the chair since 2008, starting with the idea of simplifying the mechanism.

Steelcase said the polymer material and curves of the design create a “self-editing system that is weight and posture activated,” or it conforms and adjusts to fit the person sitting in it.

In place of the 200-plus parts of most office chairs, SILQ has 30 parts and one adjustment for height.

SILQ offers a variety of material combinations, including digital printing options, to allow interior designers to create tailored versions for their clients.

The chair was publicly displayed for the first time at a Steelcase showroom in New York on Tuesday.

The Steelcase-branded SILQ will be available in North America and Asia this spring and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this fall.

The chair's starting list price is $970.


Founded in 1912, Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) offers a portfolio of architectural, furniture and technology products and services designed to “unlock human promise and support social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

Steelcase sells through its family of brands: Steelcase, Coalesse, Designtex, PolyVision, Turnstone and Workspring.

The global manufacturer has more than 800 dealer locations and reported fiscal 2017 revenue of $3 billion.

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