Making of the Embody Chair

Designer Jeff Weber tells you how the Embody chair came to be.
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Why I Sit in Embody

Hear how Embody supports the research of ophthalmic neurobiologist Budd Tucker.
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Adjusting Embody

How to tune and use your chair for maximum comfort and support.
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  • Embody chair receives FX International Interior Design award in Best Workplace Seating category
  • Embody chair honored by the Alliance for Plastics Processors (APP), a division of the Society of the Plastics Industry, with the organization's first International Plastics Design Competition award.
  • Embody chair receives Best of NeoCon Silver in the Ergonomic Desk/Task Seating category.
  • Embody chair named "Best of 2008" by WIRED magazine.
  • Embody chair named "Best of Tech" for 2008 by Yahoo Tech.
  • Embody chair named People's Choice at National Ergonomics Conference and Exhibition.

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What's In It For You

Product Story

Embody began with the recognition of a previously unsolved problem: the lack of physical harmony between people and their technology. Spending too much time interacting with our various devices, moving nothing but our fingers, can make us stiff and tired because our bodies are made to move. With Embody, designers Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber set out to solve this problem.

A New Benchmark

More than 20 physicians and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics contributed their expertise to help guide the development of this chair. As a result, Embody has set a new benchmark for pressure distribution, natural alignment, and support for healthy movement in ergonomic seating.

Pixelated Support

You feel Embody’s Pixelated Support the moment you sit down—a sense that you are floating, yet perfectly balanced. Thanks to a dynamic matrix of pixels, Embody’s seat and back surfaces automatically conform to your body’s micro-movements, distributing your weight evenly as you sit. This reduces pressure and encourages movement, both of which are key to maintaining healthy circulation and focus.

Backfit Adjustment

Embody’s back is designed like yours, with a central spine and flexible ribs. The Backfit adjustment allows you to position the backrest in line with your spine’s natural curve, so you achieve a neutral, balanced posture. Once the chair is tuned to fit you, the backrest adapts to your movement, adjusting automatically to your shifting positions. Whether you lean forward or recline, support remains constant.

Layers of Intelligence

The Embody seat is comprised of four different support layers—each with its own set of material properties, and each created with a different manufacturing process, all working together, orienting themselves to your shape with a degree of fidelity so high they even accommodate pockets. These layers were designed for airflow, keeping you cool and comfortable as you sit.

Function You Can See and Feel

Form doesn’t just follow function with Embody. Function is on full display. Every part of the chair was designed to serve a very specific, healthful purpose. Embody’s technology isn’t hidden, but is instead part of its aesthetic.

The Art and Science of Seating

After years of research, design, building, and testing—and then doing it all over again (and again)—the art of design and the science of seating came together perfectly to create Embody.

Design Story

What if a chair could do more than just minimize the negative effects of sitting? That was the radical idea that Jeff Weber and the late Bill Stumpf had in their design studio. Could they design a chair that actually had positive effects on the body? “You can’t design without empathy,” said Weber, who also designed our Caper chair. “Since design has become more technology based, we’ve had to sit in our chairs in front of computers for longer periods, just like everyone else. We identify with the problems people have as a result of sitting.”

Bill Stumpf, who designed our Aeron, Equa, and Ergon work chairs and worked for Herman Miller for more than three decades, brought the idea to us. Could such a chair be designed and made? Early on, we discussed the idea with the experts, testing three hypotheses:

Work chairs can be health-positive or therapeutic, not merely health-neutral. Dynamic surface pressure on a chair and back will provide more comfort, liveliness, and health-positive benefits than nondynamic surface pressure. Work chairs can let us achieve postural equilibrium (the upright balance point when our eyes are vertically aligned with our hips) naturally, no matter what our spinal curvature.

Expert input on these hypotheses fueled Weber and Stumpf’s early thinking about the chair and formed the basis of experiments designed to establish whether such a chair was possible. But Bill passed away in 2006. Weber carried on. As Embody’s designer, it was he who gave the chair its function and form, building on Bill Stumpf’s inspiration.

Prototypes followed, with experts sitting in them and offering appraisals of what was good and what wasn’t. Researchers conducted laboratory experiments involving kinematics, preferred postures, pressure distribution, seated tasks, and metabolics. These guided the development of Embody and confirmed the benefits it offers.