Steelcase Silq chair simplifies the path to ergonomic nirvana

Here at The Tech Report, we take our office chairs seriously. We spend most of our workdays in front of test systems, and when we're not in front of those systems, we're pounding out lengthy reviews at our desks. That means a lot of sitting, and in spite of the widespread understanding that getting up and moving around is a best practice for good health, we often fail to leave our desks for hours at a stretch. Good workspace ergonomics have to start with a good chair, then, and most basic office chairs are sorely lacking in adjustability. We've written in the past about the wonders of the Herman Miller Mirra and the Steelcase Leap, and yours truly has parked his behind in a Steelcase Gesture for over four years. Whenever Herman Miller or Steelcase revise their flagship seating, we take notice.

Steelcase's new Silq uses an intriguing proprietary material to streamline its construction, and the result looks like something straight off the bridge of the starship Enterprise. At first glance, it's striking how the Silq pares back the Gesture's array of knobs, swivels, and levers to nothing but a simple height adjustment. The company claims that seat depth, recline angle, and other positional adjustments are now handled automatically when the sitter takes up residence in the chair's naturally flexible polymer shell. The Silq's seat and back are formed from patent-pending Steelcase-exclusive stuff that mimics the flexibility of carbon fiber but costs far less to produce, according to Wired.

That shell cuts the number of unique components in the chair from hundreds of possible parts to just 30, according to Steelcase's own story of the chair's design process. While I obviously can't speak to the comfort or durability of this chair without having used it, fewer parts in a high-wear item like an office chair sounds promising for long-term durability. 

Even though Steelcase ultimately made its own carbon-fiber substitute to bring the Silq to a practical price point for its institutional audience, the company will still offer a version of the chair laid up in the fancy stuff for folks who want to stand out in their offices or shared work spaces. Buyers can further customize the Silq's fabric surfaces in wild patterns using a range of what Steelcase calls "digitally-printed fabrics" on top of the company's wide range of standard coverings.

Steelcase will begin offering the chair in North American and Asian markets in the spring of this year starting from $970, and in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa starting this fall.

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