Setu Chair Independent Review

The Herman Miller Setu Chair

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Herman Miller Setu Chair Independent Overall Rating: 6 of 10      [ how this works ]
6 out of 10 Stars

Price Range: Starting at $539

Extremely sustainable when it comes to environmentalism, and a good price for a chair of it's quality.

Setu was not designed to be a performance chair, nor is it quite comfortable enough to sustain you for extremely long work days.

The Setu Chair isn't all it's cracked up to be, but it's better than the average office chair. It's simple and effective, understated and responsible.



After having done some preliminary research on the Setu Chair, I wasn't expecting very much in the way of actual enjoyment. It's being sold as a revolutionary chair, a one of a kind sitting experience that harnesses technology and design to produce a new sort of extremely comfortable office seat. To me, it just looked like a sort of small, not particularly comfortable or exciting plastic and mesh chair that had no adjustments. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and a lot better than I expected, I have to admit. The Setu is small, but that doesn't detract from how comfortable it is. The mesh is extremely high tech, as is the "kinematic" spine support structure, and I had to sit in the chair for a long time before I felt any discomfort. I really missed having the adjustments that come with most office chairs however - if I had specific needs for support or movement, I would have had a real problem with this chair. In the end, this is a comfortable chair at a comfortable price, but I wouldn't recommend it for any seriously long stretches of sitting.
The kinematic spine, which is to say, the lack of adjustments. For some, this will be a turn-off, but it contributes to a clean profile and more stylish chair. For many, that's a trade worth making.
The Setu Chair is above average, and an effective office chair. For the average worker on an average workday, it outperforms most of the competition. However, it's not made to work long hours or to fit every person that uses it. On the whole, a good but not great piece of furniture.



6 of 10 Stars
Remember, that doesn't mean an F. I found the chair to be slightly above average (5) when it comes to comfort. For how little material, adjustments, and comfort design went into it, that's pretty excellent. During the course of a normal work day (where I'm only sitting about five or six hours of the day) I never felt real discomfort. However, if you're working eight to ten hour days at a desk, this isn't the chair for you.
DESIGN: 7 of 10
7 of 10 Stars
The kinematic spine is the big technological advance featured in this chair. The spine is two plastic support structures that outline the chair, going from the top to the base. They're made to look and act like real spines, and their flexibility and support are what give the Setu Chair it's distinctive look and good comfort rating. There is very little material in this chair; the plastic kinematic spine, the mesh that stretches across the back and seat, and the support structure and base at the bottom. This is intentional, and has a lot of advantages. One is lightness - the Setu Chair is one of the lightest and easiest to carry office chairs I've run across. Another advantage is environmental. Less material means easier recycling and less pollution when the chairs are made. German design firm Studio 7.5 designed the Setu Chair, as well as the more successful Mirra Chair, for Herman Miller. Conceptually, the chair works, but it's physical reality falls short of their somewhat lofty goals.
STYLE: 6 of 10
6 of 10 Stars
The Setu Chair is minimalist and simple. No bells and whistles whatsoever, no adjustments except for a small (and hard to see) lever that controls height, and no unique twists on silhouette and profile. The strength of the chair is in the distinctive kinematic spine and the tasteful understatement with which it was executed. There's no doubt that a chair without a lot of levers and adjustments sticking out is aesthetically pleasing, and the Setu Chair was clearly designed to be stylish. It works.
8 of 10 Stars
Herman Miller doesn't have to prove anything when it comes to furniture, and Studio 7.5 has done good work with the Mirra and Setu Chairs. The Setu Chair was hand designed and built in it's original form, and the mass produced versions don't lose anything in translation. When the point of a chair is simplicity and engineering married to an understated style, you don't need hand-made. The chair comes with an excellent warranty from Herman Miller, one of the most trusted names in the furniture business.
10 of 10 Stars
This is one area where the Setu Chair really excels. The lack of materials and the partnership between Studio 7.5 and Herman Miller contribute to a chair with a nearly unrivaled environmental record. The chair is built with a plurality of recycled material, is itself recyclable, lightweight, and easy to disassemble. The chair has very little in the way of material, so it doesn't contribute bulk to the waste problem in America. Furthermore, the Setu has won several classifications and awards from environmental organizations, including MBDC, and can contribute to LEED credits for businesses.
5 of 10 Stars
The most average part of the Setu Chair. If you need a chair that's going to work with you every step of the way, this isn't it. No adjustments except for height and a diminutive frame makes the chair a pretty no-nonsense affair. It's simple and effective, but it's not like having a partner at your desk.
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