Making of Setu

From the successes to the stresses, see everything that went into designing Setu, as told by Studio 7.5.
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  • Clamshell Chair Collection from Geiger wins Best of NeoCon Gold and Herman Miller's Setu Conference Stool wins Best of NeoCon Silver in the Conference Seating category.
  • Setu chair earns prestigious Design of the Decade Gold award as "Best Sustainable Design Solution" from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).
  • Setu chairs selected by I.D.'s 2010 Annual Design Review as a Design Distinction Winner in the Furniture category.
  • Envelop desk and Setu chair receive Interior Design magazine's Best of Year product awards.
  • Setu chairs receive Best of NeoCon Gold in Conference Seating category and Best of NeoCon Silver in Sofas & Lounge Seating category.

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What's In It For You

Setu Chair

Product Story

Technology has freed us to work anywhere and everywhere. And no matter where you go, you want furniture that looks and feels good. The Setu family provides instant comfort for all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. The Kinematic Spine in Setu chairs bends and flexes with you, while the elastomeric fabric conforms to your contours to keep you comfortable and supported. From chairs to stools to tables, the sophisticated style of Setu fits in everywhere.

Instructions: Sit down.

There's a height adjustment. That's it. How refreshing! Setu is such a sophisticated chair that it moves and conforms to your body simply by responding to your weight the moment you sit down. It's form and function in harmony, elegantly designed for the way we live and work today.

Watch "Setu: movement"

Geometry creates simplicity.

It all starts with Setu's Kinematic Spine. Inspired by nature and perfected by technology, it combines strength and flexibility to mimic your every movement, intuitively and automatically.

Watch "Setu: evolution"

Only what's needed. Not a molecule more.

Every bend, every corner, and every line of Setu were painstakingly shaped, reshaped, and reshaped again so that each molecule falls in the right order, in the right place. All in the name of less.

Watch "Setu: dematerialization"

Setu is complexity made simple.

True simplicity occurs as a result of deep problem-solving, wrestling with every challenge that arises, and taking the time to get it right. Which is what we did with Setu. We couldn't be more pleased with the result: Less.

More to the Less Story.

Thanks to Setu's Kinematic Spine, very few parts are required to build each chair, and it weighs in at just 18 pounds. Less chair means less time, cost, and energy needed to build it—but even more to love.

Down to the last detail.

From the tip of Setu's polypropylene Kinematic Spine down to the durable alloy base that offers a beautiful finish without the need for toxic coatings, there isn't a molecule we haven't mulled. Honesty in materials is a key component of design at Herman Miller, and Setu firmly holds true to this principle.

Watch "Setu: materials innovation"

Setu's not-so-secret secret—

After testing dozens of different materials for Setu's Kinematic Spine, we found the smartest solution was also the simplest: the same material used to make toothbrushes and garbage cans. It's the unique combination of two different polypropylenes—a thermoplastic polymer for the spine's composite and ethylene-propylene for the spokes—that gives you the perfect combination of strength and flex in a lightweight, durable form.

The fabric of Setu's performance.

Setu's suspension material, Lyris 2, works in harmony with the Kinematic Spine to distribute your weight evenly and conform to your contours. It encourages airflow to keep you cool, while the double interlocking weave adds strength, durability, and a distinctive sheen.

Any way you want it.

Multiply your design options with traditional upholstery without subtracting from the comfort of Setu. An inventive way to connect upholstery material to the Kinematic Spine reproduces the feeling of sitting in Lyris 2 suspension even when you’re relaxing in an upholstered version of Setu.

An unexpected alloy.

A proven material in other industries, H-Alloy aluminum had never been used in a chair until Setu. But, to us, this material made perfect sense. Durable and anti-corrosive, its unpolished and uncoated aesthetic means no added labor or harmful toxins are needed to manufacture the bases of Setu chairs, stools, and tables. The result: furniture with less eco impact and a lighter carbon footprint.

Right for Anyone, Anywhere.

Setu is designed to fit all shapes and sizes of people, and virtually all spaces and places. A range of material options and finishes let you match your aesthetic needs, allowing Setu to serve as a focal point or blend into any space where you work or live.

Watch "Setu: spaces and places"

Setu Chairs

A Family of Options

The way we interact with other people has evolved. We sit. We stand. We like to move around and switch it up. And in response, the Setu family has evolved, too. The same minimalist design and instant comfort in the original Setu chair is now available in an expanded family of chairs, stools. You can even find Setu tables in the same style. Together, they support the many ways you live and work.

Design Story

The typical chair design story goes like this: Start with an idea for a chair and shape it into the world around you. But, in designing Setu, Studio 7.5 in Berlin let the world around us shape the contours and performance of the Setu chair. It’s inspiration through observation.

Here's what Studio 7.5 observed. Technology has changed how we work, where we work, and how we move around throughout the day. We tend to work more collaboratively, in a variety of formal and informal settings, spending less time in each. We expect to work anywhere and everywhere, and we need furniture that can do the same.

While technology has changed where we sit and when we sit, it shouldn't change how we all like to work: in comfort. Sitting, standing, wherever we are.

A simple concept. A complex challenge.

Together with Studio 7.5, we combined our design expertise and manufacturing excellence and studied, learned, asked questions, and relearned. The way we work and live is different now. And it takes different thinking to support it. That’s how we created Setu.