Chair maker and office furniture maker Herman Miller is probably most famous for their Aeron desk chair but they make a wide range of other furniture and have just launched a new range the Keyn line. There Keyn chairs are aimed at three areas – casual cafe style, boardroom and a relaxed office seating area.

To get the range Miller contracted London based forpeople Design group asking for a range of chairs which could work together – something that could give the options of four legs, cantilever or pedestals and could take advantage of the scales Herman Miller can work at to drive the price down.

forpeople came up with a concept where the chairs are broken down into four parts – the base, the cradle, the seat shell and the fabric or upholstery. That last sentence might have had one part that you didn’t recognize – the cradle. This is a sliding hinge that lets you tip back slightly as you shift your position up to 10 degrees – the seat moves forward slightly and the back tilts.

The modular system has a number of advantages – the  different types of chair have a family resemblance which ties different areas together, economies of scale which lets the price be pushed down and better maintainability and availability of parts. The more of a chair gets made the longer the range will be available for and hence the better  the chances you can find parts for it.

They’ve also considered the environmental angle and the individual parts of the Keyns are recyclable with even the upholstery being stitched rather than glued to allow material separation. The build quality is also impressive with a 12 year warranty on parts and labor.

Keyn 2

So that’s the strategy. There are two crucial questions – how do they look and how comfortable are they? Looks are always subjective but I think they look elegant and classy and the ability to tailor them to the situation means they can be fit into most office and casual spaces.

They are also remarkably comfortable. That 10 degree movement is enough to encourage you to the right position and the shell hugs your back. I sat in every combination I could find and while there were differences they were all supportive and comfortable.

The Keyn range will be available in the autumn and we’ll get more information to you when it’s available.