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The Amia Chair's Design Story

Amia was created in the Steelcase Design Studio by Bruce Smith in collaboration with Thomas Overthun of IDEO. The idea for Amia came out of the recent surge in high-tech, high-priced office seating that are long on bells and whistles but short on feel. Overthun teamed up with Steelcase to make this idea a reality. The result of productive collaboration between two of the most respected furniture designers around, along with a prominent studio such as Steelcase, was the Amia.

To behold the Amia is to behold simplicity, a return to the basics. This is intentional. Smith began construction of the chair by cutting up a restaurant menu in his downtime, envisioning the Amia chair's angles and lines with nothing more than a piece of paper in front of him. Overthun's conception came from a respect and admiration for the Volkswagen Bug. "Classic" and "humble" he terms it. Yes, that's right. The sleek design we now recognize as the Steelcase Amia represents a sort of creatively fulfilled Platonic Volkswagen. If the Amia's roots were not ordinary, at least they were well-conceived. Smith and Overthun never wavered from their basic principle that simple could be comfortable, humble could be appreciated.

With their vision in place, the tag team of designers began their creation. Hours upon hours in the design studio produced sketches, outlines, models, and shapes that contributed to the final Amia we enjoy today. Overthun was serious about this process, willing to go to any length to create something smarter, sharper, different from any other chair on the market. Along the way, they implemented the trademark feature of Amia Chair, its LiveLumbar lower back support technology.

That Smith and Overthun were able to employ such a useful and innovative feature without sacrificing the simple and straightforward design that makes Amia great is a testament to their dedication. The LiveLumbar support system is an adjustable, flexing back cushion that molds smoothly to the most important part of the posture, the lower spine. Steelcase Amia with LiveLumbar technology stands out from the rest of the crowd. The Amia design might seem bland to competitors or even to the Steelcase Leap and Think chairs, but to the trained eye, it has unique aesthetic value. And to an ergonomic expert, the LiveLumbar system will come as a pleasant surprise. To the consumer all aspects should pique interest as the Amia Chair has much more to offer than meets the eye, or the spine.

Buy Amia today to become a part of the narrative of this chair that rose from simple means to innovative technology thanks to a pair of curious and tireless designers. The Amia Chair can indeed be summed up best by its creators Smith and Overthun as "sophisticated simplicity".


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