Herman Miller SAYL chair

SAYL design

Design of the SAYL chairHerman Miller asked designer Yves Behar to design a highly affordable chair that would incorporate everything Herman Miller is known for, beautiful design, first-class ergonomics, elegant engineering, and respect for the environment. Behar, who calls San Francisco home, began by looking at designs that deliver the most with the least. And then he took a look at his city's best-known landmark: the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was one of those aha! moments. Behar wondered, could the engineering principles of a suspension bridge be applied to a chair? It turned out that, not only was it possible, but using a suspension tower to support an unframed back would reduce materials, weight, and environmental impact. The flexible elastomer suspension material could be stretched in a way that provided the greatest tension at points where support is needed and the least in areas that would allow for the most expansive range of motion.

So why SAYL, rather than, say, Bridge? Take a look at the chair from the side. See the resemblance to a full mainsail? The name reflects the sailing vessels that pass beneath the bridges that inspired the original design. Replacing the "i" in "sail" with a "y" is a nod to the innovative Y-Tower structure of the work chair.

By rethinking every part of the chair, Behar and our development team were able to create a better, smarter chair that sets a new reference point in its class for performance, quality, and appearance.