Cradled in Comfort
Edited by Karen D. Singh, Deborah Wilk, Mark McMenamin, and Yvonne M. Chan -- Interior Design, 5/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
"It's what Charles Eames used to call 'defining the need,'" Susan Lyons says. She's talking about her collaborations with Herman Miller, which assigned her to assess its finishes—1,600 samples including powder coats, plastic laminates, and textiles—and think about the future of fiber. "Herman Miller doesn't view fabrics as just an applied skin," she says. "They're an integral component."
During that process, Lyons connected with independent designer Jeff Weber to develop a new fabric for Embody, a chair by Weber and the late Bill Stumpf. Its proprietary technologies—such as a dynamic seat and back that conform to micro movements and evenly distribute weight—were conceived to keep the sitter's brain focused and energized. Weber was keen to avoid a conventional fabric-over-foam construction in favor of a single porous material to spirit away heat and moisture. Lyons came up with Balance, a polyester knit in 13 colors. It responds to the human body via spacer construction, used in roadbeds and athletic shoes, and ultimately bridges technology and tactility with cushioning that's soft to the touch. In addition to Balance, Embody is available in Rhythm polyester, in 15 colors, and COM. 888-443-4357; hermanmiller.com. circle 408