Steelcase has introduced SILQ™, a chair that transforms seating design. Through an innovation in materials science and a patent-pending process, Steelcase designers and engineers created a new high-performance polymer material that emulates the qualities of carbon fiber at a mass market price. This material, combined with the sensuous curves of the design, allows SILQ to respond to natural movements of the human body without the mechanisms typically required in high-performance seating designed for the workplace. The result is a chair that behaves more like an organism than a machine – a new archetype in office seating.
“The idea behind SILQ comes from our deep belief about design. The visual language, performance language and material composition should come together to create something that’s truly unique,” said James Ludwig, vice president, global design and engineering. “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.”
Ludwig and his team had a vision for an entirely new way to design a chair. They imagined replacing the hundreds of parts needed for a fully adjustable task chair with a simple system, where the material becomes the mechanism.
The team first created a premium version of SILQ in carbon fiber. But they knew they needed to innovate further to reach every audience. They continued prototyping and invented a new material and manufacturing process resulting in a high-performance 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 is designed for the way people work today. People at work are moving from one space to another and are less likely to sit at an assigned desk all day. They have less time to adjust mechanisms and need a chair that is intuitive to use. The way SILQ responds to a person’s posture and stature is unique to each user because of the way the materiality, design and motion of the human body come together. Height is the only adjustment necessary for a tailored and unique experience.
“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 an expansive variety of material combinations, including digital printing options, to allow interior designers to create virtually limitless bespoke versions for their clients.
The chair will be available in the new high-performance polymer as well as carbon fiber. The starting list price for SILQ is $970 and will be available in North America and Asia in Spring of 2018, and in Europe, Middle East and Africa in Fall 2018.