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Whitney Kohlbus spends 1 Week with the Sayl Chair

Whitney Kohlbus

The folks here at Smart Furniture were curious about Herman Miller's new Yves Behar-designed Sayl Chair and how well it would affect their everyday work environment - so what better way to figure it out than to just sit in one! Whitney Kohlbus, customer service specialist extraordinaire, has graciously accepted the opportunity to sit on Sayl for one week and write about her thoughts.

Day One

To start, let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm pretty short at 5'1" (ok, ok, very short) and don't have any back problems. My height and size make me somewhat of a Goldilocks of chairs. The big chairs are too big. It's hard to fidget and move around, which I do a lot of, in a clunky chair. The small chairs are too small. They generally don't provide an adequate amount of back and seat support. Sigh.

I often sit in odd (definitely not ergonomic) positions and change them frequently. I want my chair to be slim and maneuverable, while still offering support and comfort. I currently sit in a standard, definitely small, office chair. Even though it's not the most popular chair in the office by far, I like it. It's small, light, and actually offers a decent amount of back support. Despite my chair's likeability, I agreed to trade it in for the new Sayl chair by Herman Miller for 5 days.

My first impressions of Sayl: Seat is firm, but more padded and definitely wider than my original chair. Back suspension is supportive, but not rigid. Frame (or non-frame, if you will) is nice and light.


Day Two

So far, so good. The Sayl chair allows me to move and change positions as often as I like. The comfortable and flexible back suspension actually encourages me to sit properly (feet on floor, back straight and resting against the back of the chair). I still don't sit correctly all the time — I'm a big fan of tucking one foot under me — but I'm definitely enjoying the support the Sayl gives me when I do. Also, you can feel the firmness of the seat soften as you break it in. It begins to form to you as you sit in it more and more.


Day Three

The Sayl chair I'm sitting in (even as I write this) has height adjustable arms. I don't love the way they adjust. You have to pull them all the way up to adjust them back down, so for me, it's hard to get them just perfect. Once you get them there, though, they stay put. They don't slide down on their own or readjust themselves. It's really just a one-time inconvenience. The arms themselves are small and do not have much of a pad or cushion. Personally, I don't use the arms very often, so that doesn't bother me. It's more important to me that they are small and unobtrusive, which they are.


Day Four

I don't recline in my office chair very often, if ever. I know this fact is surprising given my love for odd sitting positions, but I just can't stay focused when I lean back. I'm sure that many people are the opposite and will want to know what this function is like on the Sayl chair, so here it is:

The tension knob (located under the seat) is easy to find and adjust. Simply turn it counterclockwise to ease the tension and clockwise to increase it. Just keep in mind that first you will need to turn the lever on the left-hand side all the way back to unlock the recline function. The tension knob provides a large range of lounging ease. You can lock it to keep it from leaning back, like I do, and it ranges all the way from reclining easily to being harder to lean back in. Plus it's easy to switch back and forth from the most to the least limiting with just a flick of a lever.


Day Five

My time with the Sayl chair is coming to an end, fittingly enough, on Valentine's Day. This day fits so well, because I officially love this chair. It's not too big or too small. It's just right. I found my perfect fit with all of the easy adjustments you can make on the chair. This one doesn't even have all of the adjustable options, like adjustable seat depth and fully adjustable arms, and adjustable lumbar support, which will be available soon for the Sayl chair. It can only become more adaptable in the coming months.

We have been very excited about this chair's launch and release. The sitting experience it provides, as well as its beautiful design (by Yves Behar), definitely lives up to the hype at a fantastic value! Its unframed construction means there aren't any hard edges to dig into your legs, back or arms, only adding to its already exceptional comfort level. It's minimalist in every area that matters - environmental impact and bulkiness - without sacrificing things that matter in a task chair, like support and comfort.


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