With its graceful contours evoking the gentle curvature of a clam shell, exquisite ergonomic prowess and instant comfort, the new performance chair from Naoto Fukasawa and Herman Miller heralds a new generation of workplace seating.
4 July, 2023
Renowned for his belief in the seamless integration of design with human behaviour, Naoto Fukusawa, the multidisciplinary Tokyo-based designer, has consistently championed meaningful functionality that effortlessly harmonises with our daily lives. Whether it’s his influential contribution to Apple’s design language or his wall-mounted CD player, which today is a part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Fukusawa’s process consistently exhibits an unwavering commitment to exquisite design that elevates human experiences.
It comes as no surprise then that Naoto joined forces with Herman Miller, a global leader in workplace design, to create a series of everyday objects. Herman Miller’s products have always derived from powerful insights and honour the profound connection between design and human behaviour – a relationship that resonates with Fukusawa’s creative process.
Asari, the latest performance chair joining Herman Miller’s impressive collection of ergonomic design solutions, embodies the essence of Fukusawa’s design philosophy as it draws subtle inspiration from the anthropomorphic form of a clam. The elegant backrest, reminiscent of the gentle curvature of a crustacean shell, encapsulates its organic, sculptural beauty. Counterbalancing the metaphorical materiality of a shell, the chair’s generous, upholstered volumes read as soft, comfortable and inviting. This unique amalgamation engenders a profound sense of delight – one of the primary objectives behind Fukusawa’s creation.
“My goal was to inspire joy and create a new form, ultimately becoming the next upholstered icon,” the designer shares. “A core part of my design ethos is to simplify the way we live, imbuing each creation with an attraction that makes people feel dear to it, a timelessness and longevity that enhances a human process.”
There is no doubt that the innovative ergonomics concealed within the chair’s rounded volumes are poised to elevate the user’s experience. Available in high-back and mid-back options, the chair is tailored specifically to the end user. The synchronous self-adjusting tilt provides natural movement, while the signature PostureFit® adjusts to fill the void that exists between the lower back and the back of the chair. The mechanism ensures natural alignment of the spine, while the contoured seat pad minimises pressure points and provides the premium support.
Adding to the excitement surrounding this delightful design is a selection of new materials developed by Herman Miller in collaboration with Maharam, a renowned interior textile creator. Meld and Luce, two exquisite woven textiles, are meticulously crafted from responsibly sourced wool and polyester found throughout Europe. These are artfully complemented by Stowleather, a luxurious leather textile sourced from an esteemed tannery in Northern Italy. The unique finishes certainly accentuate the shapely character of the new performance, further enhanced by Herman Miller’s signature colour flood options.
The resulting seat ushers in a new era of elevated comfort for the modern workplace, whether it be within the confines of an office or the comfort of one’s home. “The evolution of work means the needs for spaces both at home and the office have transformed,” says Ben Watson, President, Herman Miller. “Asari, created with visionary designer Naoto Fukasawa, delivers what today’s workers need through intuitive adjustment, new leather and fabric offerings, clean aesthetic, and ergonomic performance.”
With its sculptural allure, ergonomic ingenuity and uncompromising comfort, Asari undoubtedly emerges as an up-and-coming icon of the modern workplace. And it serves as a testament to the symbiotic relationship between delight and functionality – a principle deeply ingrained in both Naoto Fukusawa’s design practice, and Herman Miller’s ethos.
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