If you walk into any smartly designed office or home workspace and don't see a ubiquitous Aeron desk throne, you'll most likely dodge some more ubiquitous Eames chairs. Both products are celebrated iconic and ergonomic approaches to modern seating manufactured by the quintessential American furniture brand Herman Miller. The problem is that they're everywhere, and the desk chair needs a breath of fresh air.
The solution is SAYL, Herman Miller's new instant-classic as imagined and created by the lauded product designer Yves Behar. Unlike the Aeron, which starts at $629, the SAYL is actually affordable at $400. It makes sitting at a desk a nearly dynamic experience and is quickly changing the look and feel of progressively designed workspaces. And if, like us, you find that you can't live and work without one, you should get wise to the Era of the SmartChair early, before design-fetish copycats turn it into a cliché.
The SAYL chair was literally inspired by both the lightness and efficiency of sailboats as well as the tower-and-cable design of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. It's frameless. Which means you'll now have to go without painful desk-chair skin grooves from traditional plastic and metal frames. But this is why regardless of newness SAYL is our go-to seating choice for airy revisions of any workspace, especially one afflicted with a palpable sense of paralysis.
"We actually made SAYL frameless to encourage movement," says Behar. "The chair's also lighter and uses less materials than others, making it visually more transparent as well as more sustainable."
Go ahead, get philosophical about it: SAYL's about "unframed living," stretching out, creatively and productively, doing more with less. More practical and comfort-sustaining, however, is the soft injected-rubber material that makes up the chair's genius suspension-back which molds to your shape. This material allows you to calibrate both lumbar and general back support with far better results than stock office chairs made of foam and mesh.
Of course, we still shun sedentary living. It's just that we now have a newly original, reliable, and affordable aid for moving freely and comfortably through a workday. One that's also a way to feel proud about the look and feel of the space where we create. [$399; hermanmiller.com]