Herman Miller Introduces Setu(TM) Chairs: Complexity Made Simple for the Next Generation of Multipurpose Seating

    ZEELAND, MI, June 15 /CNW/ - Herman Miller, Inc., the international
leader in ergonomic seating design, announces the next generation of
multipurpose chair for all the places we work and live now. With Setu chairs,
designed by Studio 7.5 of Berlin, Herman Miller applies its award-winning
seating expertise to a major chair category that has seen little innovation in

    (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090615/349156-a )

    (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090615/349156-b )

    "The Setu family of chairs provides new standards of comfort,
performance, and value," says Jack Schreur, Herman Miller's director for
seating products. "It's made from an innovative combination of materials to
provide remarkable levels of strength, flexibility, simplicity, and
    Setu will be introduced at NeoCon 2009 in Chicago, June 15-17. The
initial offering will include the Setu 5-star, 4-star, butterfly, butterfly
stool, and lounge and ottoman. Future models are planned that will further
extend the Setu family's range of application.
    Multipurpose chairs are used where people sit for shorter periods and
frequently move, such as conference rooms, touchdown workstations, and
collaborative spaces. However, these so-called "temporary spaces" are now less
temporary. For many of us, all the places we sit are temporary as we move
throughout the day, spending an hour or two at a time in different places.
    The problem is existing multipurpose chairs aren't designed to handle
longer-term sitting and more active use. This was recognized by Studio 7.5,
who also designed Herman Miller's award-winning Mirra work chair in 2003.
During their global travels in support of that chair's international launch,
they sat in many different multipurpose chairs along the way. The 7.5 team
found the one-piece seat and back typical of multipurpose chairs is not very
comfortable; instead comfort is compromised for affordability. Coming home,
they recognized a need for a new kind of multipurpose chair-one combining
work-chair principles of motion and comfort with good looks, simplicity, and
an affordable price.
    Herman Miller and Studio 7.5 created Setu to answer those needs, with key
inventions that greatly improve on comfort and support: the Kinematic
Spine(TM) and the Lyris(TM) seat suspension material.
    Throughout Setu's development, Studio 7.5 was guided by their quest for
simplicity. "We want everything as simple as possible, but no simpler," noted
the designers, paraphrasing Einstein. Simplicity is especially important in
multipurpose seating, where chairs may be used in many places, and many
different people may use the same chair during the day.
    Setu looks simple and is easy to use. But to achieve that, it contains
embedded design intelligence, with form and function working in harmony.

    Setu is Motion: The Kinematic Spine

    The instruction manual reads as follows: sit down. The first thing you'll
notice once you sit in Setu? Nothing. There's nothing to tilt, nothing to
tweak, nothing to think about. It's mathematics in place of mechanisms. From
the moment you sit down, you and the chair move as one. It is elegant form and
performance working together in harmony. It's true comfort, now.
    Setu's Kinematic Spine is the primary reason. It has tilt-like kinematics
in one continuous seat and back, rather than in a separate seat pan, back
rest, and tilt. Because of the spine, there is no tilt mechanism on the chair,
and the only adjustment is seat height.
    Made of simple compounds for the perfect combination of flex and
strength, the spine mimics the synchronized movement needed to fully support
the body in any reclined or upright position.
    After testing dozens of different materials for Setu's spine, the
smartest solution was also the simplest: polypropylene. The spine is a
sophisticated geometry made of two different polypropylene variants: one
providing the rigidity and the other allowing flex. Every bend, corner and
line were painstakingly shaped, reshaped, and reshaped again by Studio 7.5 so
that each molecule falls in the right order, in the right place.
    The spine works together with Setu's Lyris seating suspension material.
This unique suspension has no rigid frame structure on the top and bottom
edges of the chair, but is only suspended between the two Kinematic Spines.
The suspension was specifically designed and engineered for superior comfort
and a weightless feel. The elastomer floats omni-directional within the fabric
structure; it stretches in every direction so it distributes weight evenly and
conforms to your contours as you move. The openness of the suspension
structure also provides aeration and reduces heat buildup.

    Setu is Simple: Dematerialization

    Thanks to Setu's Kinematic Spine, chair components are greatly minimized.
Setu contains only the materials needed and not a molecule more. The Setu
basic chair has few parts and weighs less than 20 pounds-less than many tilt
mechanisms alone. This means less material, time, and energy needed to build
    Setu's H-Alloy(TM) aluminum base is another example of less equals more.
Not only is it durable and anti-corrosive, it is unpolished and uncoated, so
there is no added labor or harmful toxins. The result: less eco impact.
Well-known in the car industry for years, this material has never before been
applied to a chair.
    Because there is only one adjustment (height), Setu is simple to use.
This makes it ideal for places where many different people use the same chair.
Everyone gets the full ergonomic benefit without adjustment.

    Setu is adaptable: Wide application

    Where Setu is, it belongs. The clean, light-scaled, and simple aesthetic
complements a wide range of environments. It is designed to fit most shapes
and sizes. But, equally important, Setu is designed to fit all spaces and
places. Adaptable like no other chair in its category, Setu appeals to
functional needs as well as design aesthetics. It can be the feature of any
room or simply be noticeably unnoticeable.
    Because the spine provides the chair's motion within the seat and back,
multiple different bases can be applied for a wide range of future
applications. With its simple and light international aesthetic, Setu is
equally stylish and comfortable in office, home, healthcare, education, and
hospitality environments, anywhere in the world.
    Setu is also remarkably affordable, with contract list pricing starting
at $650. Setu chairs will be orderable in the commercial market beginning June
15, and will be introduced into Herman Miller's retail channel in September of
2009. Retail pricing is pending.

    Setu is Responsible

    Setu Chairs support Herman Miller's commitment to the environment,
helping Herman Miller reach its sustainability goals of zero landfill, zero
hazardous waste generation, and zero VOC emissions into the air by 2020. Setu
adheres to the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) Cradle to Cradle
protocol. The chair has 48 percent recycled content, is 92 percent recyclable,
and contains no PVCs. The Lyris suspension uses only environmentally conscious
materials: a copolyester elastomer and antimony-free polyester. Setu is under
review for MBDC Cradle to Cradle Gold certification and GREENGUARD(R)
certification. Setu carries Herman Miller's 12-year warranty.

    About Herman Miller

    Herman Miller works for a better world around you-with inventive designs,
technologies and related services that improve the human experience wherever
people work, heal, learn, and live. Its curiosity, ingenuity, and design
excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than
$2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2008. Innovative business practices and a
commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a
recognized global company. In 2009, Herman Miller was again cited by FORTUNE
as both the "Most Admired" in its industry and among the "100 Best Companies
to Work For" in America, while Fast Company named Herman Miller among the
innovative "Companies to Watch." Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global
Select Market under the symbol MLHR.

    Internet http://www.HermanMiller.com

    A picture accompanying this release is available on AP Archive:
    http://photoarchive.ap.org (PRN1 / PRN2)


For further information:

For further information: Mark Schurman, (616) 654-5496 or
mark_schurman@hemanmiller.com; Susan Koole, (616) 654-5709 or
susan_koole@hermanmiller.com. Address: Herman Miller, Inc., 855 East Main
Avenue, PO Box 302, Zeeland, MI, 49464-0302

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