Steelcase Debuts a New Material

The new Silq chair delivers a personal experience by responding to the unique movements of your body. The impetus was to achieve an elegant, effortless and supportive form for a task chair.

A carbon fiber-like material from Steelcase is an integral component to a task chair and a breakthrough material technology. Disguised within the chair, the lightweight, high-performance polymer has the same density, pliability and tensile strength as its carbon fiber inspiration, but comes with a much more economical price point; in fact, says James Ludwig, Product Development at Steelcase, “It’s virtually indistinguishable to the real material and about a third of the price.”

The impetus for the design breakthrough was to achieve an elegant, effortless and supportive form for a task chair that was intuitive, simple and accessible at all price points. “You don’t really sit on it, you’re a part of it,” explains Ludwig. “It tailors the sit to you. The chair responds uniquely to you through the material and the geometry.”

Remarkably expressive for a task chair, Silq offers plurality in design. “There are unprecedented varieties of personalities to express this chair,” says Ludwig. Calm grays with a wooden back give a warm, understated Scandinavian feel, but add a vibrant orange and you have the surf shop version of it; a beautiful molded wool and deep blue carbon fiber creates an elegant, sophisticated New York, Tom Ford or Paris runway version. Try sitting on Silq at a Steelcase showroom in major markets. Currently, it is available for reservation for very specific clients, and people with big upcoming projects. Silq will be formally introduced and two versions will be on display in at this summer’s NeoCon.

What came of the invention of this new high-performance polymer was not only the desired product—a task chair—but a much more versatile material that can be applied to many more body-and-budget friendly office furniture initiatives, says Ludwig. “Will there be other things with what we’ve learned? This is only the start for us in this new category."

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