A New Benchmark
More than 20 physicians and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy and ergonomics contributed their expertise to help guide the development of this chair. As a result, Embody has set a new benchmark for pressure distribution, natural alignment and support for healthy movement in ergonomic seating.
Embody began with the recognition of a previously unsolved problem: the lack of physical harmony between people and their technology. Spending too much time interacting with our various devices, moving nothing but our fingers, can make us stiff and tired because our bodies are made to move. With Embody, designers Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber set out to solve this problem.
You feel Embody’s Pixelated Support the moment you sit down – a sense that you are floating, yet perfectly balanced. Thanks to a dynamic matrix of pixels, Embody’s seat and back surfaces automatically conform to your body’s micro-movements, distributing your weight evenly as you sit. This reduces pressure and encourages movement, both of which are key to maintaining healthy circulation and focus.
Function You Can See and Feel
Form doesn’t just follow function with Embody. Function is on full display. Every part of the chair was designed to serve a very specific, health-positive purpose. Embody’s technology isn’t hidden – it is part of the aesthetic.
Advancing the Art and Science of Seating
After years of research, design, building and testing – and then doing it all over again (and again) – the art of design and the science of seating came together perfectly to create Embody.
What if a chair could do more than just minimise the negative effects of sitting? That was the radical idea that Jeff Weber and the late Bill Stumpf had in their design studio. Could they design a chair that actually had positive effects on the body? “You can’t design without empathy,” said Weber, who also designed our Caper chair. “Since design has become more technology based, we’ve had to sit in our chairs in front of computers for longer periods, just like everyone else. We identify with the problems people have as a result of sitting.”
Bill Stumpf, who designed our Aeron, Equa and Ergon work chairs and worked for Herman Miller for more than three decades, brought the idea to us. Could such a chair be designed and made? Early on, we discussed the idea with the experts, testing three hypotheses:
Work chairs can be health-positive or therapeutic, not merely health-neutral.Dynamic surface pressure on a chair and back will provide more comfort, liveliness and health-positive benefits than non-dynamic surface pressure.Work chairs can let us achieve postural equilibrium (the upright balance point when our eyes are vertically aligned with our hips) naturally, no matter what our spinal curvature.
Expert input on these hypotheses fuelled Weber and Stumpf’s early thinking about the chair and formed the basis of experiments designed to establish whether such a chair was possible. But Bill passed away in 2006. Weber carried on. As Embody’s designer, it was he who gave the chair its function and form, building on Bill Stumpf’s inspiration.
Prototypes followed, with experts sitting in them and offering appraisals of what was good and what wasn’t. Researchers conducted laboratory experiments involving kinematics, preferred postures, pressure distribution, seated tasks and metabolics. These guided the development of Embody and confirmed its health-positive benefits.