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The Herman Miller Sayl Chair

an independently commissioned review   |   see all reviews


Herman Miller Sayl Chair Independent Overall Rating: 9 of 10      [ how this works ]
9 out of 10 Stars

Price Range: $399.00 to $904.00

PROS:
Beauty, comfort, support, and style.

CONS:
Not high performance, and not great for large users.

OVERALL RATING:
This is a chair that's right on the edge of all-time greatness. The only thing that holds it back is performance (slightly). But while it may be looking up at the Embody, it's still one of the best office chairs money can buy. And with the money you'll save by purchasing the Sayl instead of its competitors, you can actually test that theory.

 

PRODUCT REVIEW


FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The Sayl Chair, designed by Yves Behar and built by Herman Miller, is a major new offering from the venerable furniture company. It's light as a feather, ultra-modern, and stylish, and it's comfortable and environmentally responsible to boot.

The concept of the chair begins with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, which happens to be where Yves Behar keeps his studio, fuseproject. The Sayl Chair is what happens when you bring the look and the technology behind suspension bridges to a chair—and the result is comfortable, supportive, light, and dirt cheap compared to other chairs of its category.

The back of the chair, especially, is where you see the inspiration. Constructed of crisscrossing and flexible webbing that culminates in a narrow seat back at your shoulders (like the Embody Chair), the back is beautiful and impressive. It's a bit of engineering and stylistic brilliance courtesy of Yves Behar and the San Francisco Bay.
THE 'X' FACTOR
This is a chair designed by Yves Behar, and as such is a truly valuable piece of modern design. It’s a bit more than just a chair.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a beautiful chair, full of imagination, that exemplifies the less is more philosophy of modern design. It'll also keep your back in great shape for long stretches at work, sitting in front of a computer. And, since it starts at just $399, you can’t go wrong by investing in a Sayl Chair.

 

PRODUCT RATINGS


COMFORT / ERGONOMICS: 8 of 10
8 out of 10 Stars
While the Sayl Chair isn't the most comfortable product in the Herman Miller stable, it's among the top 20 percent, and that's saying something. It's hard to believe a chair with such a small back and such a slight profile could be as comfortable as it is, but sitting is believing. The back has plenty of give and support, and the seat padding is thin but comfy. The arms of the chair are small as well, but placed correctly and with plenty of give and softness themselves.

The suspension bridge technology in the back of the chair means weight is distributed and the burden of support is therefore shared. You can twist and move in your seat without worrying about losing support or comfort. All in all, a remarkable achievement from a chair that uses so little material.
DESIGN: 9 of 10
9 out of 10 Stars
Yves Behar is quickly becoming a player on the international design scene, with dozens of projects in a wide variety of disciplines. The SAYL Chair is one of his most impressive achievements to date. At the start of work, his basic assignment was to create a chair with as little material as he could use, and with as low of a price point as he could manage. The result is a chair that does more with less in every capacity. More support with less material; more comfort with fewer adjustments and little padding; a streamlined production process that makes the chair affordable and convenient. This is a very clever, very impressive design.
STYLE: 9 of 10
9 out of 10 Stars
Stylistically, the chair is most easily compared to a suspension bridge. The backing of the chair is where the biggest style points are earned, and they’re earned in bunches. The interlacing molded plastic back is full of space; it's full of geometric holes. The "laces" of the chair are precisely spaced for maximum comfort and support, but also for maximum visual effect. The narrowing back, a new trend in chairs, is accomplished and original in that it uses a Y bar instead of a single spine going all the way to the top.
QUALITY / CRAFTSMANSHIP / PEDIGREE: 10 of 10
10 out of 10 Stars
Herman Miller is one of the most respected furniture makers in America (if not the most respected), and the same can be said of Yves Behar's standing in the community of modern design. From design to production to sale, this chair is as classy and well made as it gets.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: 9 of 10
9 out of 10 Stars
One great thing about using as little material as you can in a chair is that it's easier to recycle completely and it takes up less space in landfills even if you don’t recycle. The Sayl Chair was designed, as is every product at Herman Miller, to be environmentally responsible and safe. The factories that produce the chair are low-to-zero emissions, the plastics and metals in the chair are recyclable, and the shipping is recyclable and re-usable as well.
PERFORMANCE: 7 of 10
7 out of 10 Stars
This is the only area of the chair that isn't exceptional, and that's only because the design philosophy behind the chair totally eschewed bells and whistles. You can make basic adjustments to the chair, but beyond them the chair is designed to read and respond to your body automatically and without effort on the part of the user. It’s designed for sitting, but not explicitly for long hours of working.
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