A Chair Can Be Unframed

Explore the Sayl design process from inspiration to final product.
Experience Sayl

Part of the Thrive Portfolio
Learn more


LEED Calculator

See how this product can contribute to your environmental goals.

Adjusting Sayl

How to tune and use your chair for maximum comfort and support.
Watch video

  • Sayl chair wins Interior Design's "Best of Year Product" award in Seating: Contract/Task category.
  • Sayl chair wins FX International's Interior Design Award for Best Workplace Seating.
  • Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) awards a Silver Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) to the Sayl family of seating.
  • Sayl chair wins Reader's Choice award in TreeHugger's Best of Green: Design and Architecture category.
  • Sayl chair named "Product Design of the Year" by the 2010 International Design Awards (IDA) jury.

What's In It For You

Product Story

Good design, healthy support, and exceptional value are always attractive—and Sayl delivers all three. By using smart engineering to transform simple materials, we were able to make Sayl attainable for more people.

A New Reference Point

Sayl designer Yves Béhar and our development team considered and reconsidered every part of the chair—and, in the end, created a better, smarter chair that sets the reference point in its class for quality, performance, and design.

3D Intelligent Back

Sayl’s unframed 3D Intelligent back lets you stretch and move, striking a healthy balance between support and freedom. The elastomer strands of the suspension back vary in thickness and tension to provide greater support in the transition areas along the spine and less everywhere else to encourage a full range of seated movement.


The vertical and horizontal strands of Sayl’s 3D Intelligent suspension back provide passive PostureFit sacral support, which prevents slouching to keep your spine in healthy alignment for improved posture and increased comfort.

Dynamic Support

The foundational shell of the fully upholstered work chair mimics the 3D Intelligent suspension, providing similar dynamic support in a more traditional back. An optional lumbar support is available on both work chair models and provides adjustment over a 4-inch (10 cm) range.

Inspired by Suspension

Inspired by suspension bridges—structures that deliver the most using the least material—Yves Béhar applied the engineering principles of these amazing structures to create Sayl. The chair’s Eco-Dematerialized design uses less material in more inventive ways to provide ergonomic support for people up to 350 pounds (159 kg).

Responsible Design

We produce Sayl on three continents to reduce the distance between the factory and the buyer. This product contains no PVCs and its materials are almost entirely recyclable.

Expressive Palette

Sayl’s unframed back and Y-Tower support create a striking visual aesthetic that reveals both the designer’s inspiration and intent. Whether you choose the full-suspension or upholstered back, an expressive color palette gives you plenty of options for personalizing your chair.

Sayl Chairs

A Full Family of Seating

The smart engineering and high style of the Sayl work chair can be found in the Sayl side chair. Work chairs feature an upholstered seat with either a suspension or upholstered back. Side chairs feature either a 4-leg or sled base and upholstered seat with your choice of suspension or upholstered backs.

Design Story

We asked designer Yves Béhar to design a highly affordable chair that would incorporate everything Herman Miller is known for—beautiful design, first-class ergonomics, elegant engineering, and respect for the environment.

Béhar, who calls San Francisco home, began by looking at designs that deliver the most with the least. And then he took a look at his city's best-known landmark: the Golden Gate Bridge. Béhar wondered, could the engineering principles of a suspension bridge be applied to a chair?

The notion of using a suspension tower to support an unframed suspension back meant that the elastomer material could be stretched in a way that provides the greatest tension at points where support is needed and the least in areas that would allow for the most expansive range of motion.

So why "Sayl", rather than, say, "Bridge"? Take a look at the chair from the side. See the resemblance to a full mainsail? The name reflects the sailing vessels that pass beneath the bridges that inspired the original design. Replacing the "i" in "sail" with a "y" is a nod to the innovative Y-Tower structure of the work chair.