Meeting “on the go” with Burkhard Schmitz, Claudia Plikat and Carola Zwick of Studio 7.5 at Herman Miller Design Center, Corso Garibaldi that in occasion of Salone del Mobile hosted the global launch of Mirra 2. The designers explain us the new concepts of the re-design, after 10 years and over 1.5 million chairs, of this successful and best seller chair.
Which WOW (Ways Of Working) have inspired the new concepts of Mirra 2 after ten years from the original model?
For one thing, work has been evolving. People shift from individual to collaborative work in an instant. The more they’re in motion, the more they need support that moves with them. Precisely because of this new agility, we found the idea of a highly individualized personal chair is still valid. So Mirra 2 follows the same principles as the original design and soul, but we advanced the materialization and manifestation of this idea in virtually every aspect.
What had you preserved?
The athletic attitude: we always knew that for an ergonomic work chair the same rules apply as for a pair of running shoes: both need to balance adaptability and support in order to be health positive. The challenge is to adapt to the person’s body in order to avoid pressure points over time, and also avoid interferences with the movements of the user. At the same time the gear needs to provide the right amount of firmness and support in order to help the person’s body to adopt healthy postures. The intuitive adjustments: We think of Mirra as being user-friendly personal gear. In order to fully benefit from an ergonomic work chair, the chair needs to be adjusted correctly. Only if the person is both encouraged and empowered to adjust to his or her personal size and preference does the investment in high-performance gear make the most sense.
Which advances had you introduced?
Breathability: the Mirra design, with its membrane seat and perforated back, has always created a temperature-neutral sitting experience. With Mirra 2 we maximized the chair’s breathable surfaces to advance the chair’s thermal comfort. We redesigned the seat frame and the way the membrane material attaches to it. This allowed us to remove the foam pad under the front of the seat membrane to create a 100% effective membrane and increase the seat’s breathability. The Butterfly Back™ shell has a reversed ratio of openings to support structure, thus increasing the breathability for the sitter’s back. The front layer is a spacer fabric used in functional clothing to avoid heat and moisture build-up. Mirra 2 is now more “sensitive.” By inventing a method for merging a fabric layer with polymer veins, we created the Butterfly Back, an intelligent support structure. This hybrid structure is shaped for dynamic support. Combined with the new loop spine and a new, independent lower-back support Mirra 2 is exceptionally responsive to even the body’s slightest movements. We think of this as similar to the sensitivity and resolution achieved in high fidelity sound. The result of these advances is a new level of contouring and support for micro motion. Mirra’s Harmonic Tilt™ is now more agile. We know agile sitting is advantageous for blood flow and the intrinsic notion of comfort. The new tilt is even more in sync with the body’s motions. It reacts to even subtle shifts of body weight, so constant movement is encouraged and the feel the sitter experiences is weightless.
We think every design should be sustainable, and one way is to make sure a design lasts. In the case of Mirra 2, we took something good and made it better. We revisited and rethought every component of the chair, and so we were able to improve the performance while reducing weight by 25% from the original design. Dematerialization: less weight is better for the environment because less material and less energy is required to make the chair, which reduces its carbon footprint. A lighter chair also lets the person maneuver it much easier. That’s important because the way people flex throughout the day, always on the move, always in motion. Mirra 2 is a chair that can keep up with people, keeping them active, focused, and supported.
Herman Miller. Mirra 2 work chair designed by Studio 7.5 of Berlin, the quartet of Burkhard Schmitz, Carola Zwick, Claudia Plikat, and Roland Zwick.