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Mesh to impress: Steelcase launches Karman

With the opening of Steelcase’s new Sydney showroom comes the launch of Karman. A task chair that heralds a changing of the times.

<strong>Mesh to impress: Steelcase launches Karman</strong>

It’s busy times for Steelcase in Australia. The workplace specialist has just recently opened a Sydney showroom – the first of its major Australian flagships, and located on Elizabeth Street right in the heart of the city.

Aligning with this opening is the launch of Steelcase’s new Karman chair: the ultimate ergonomic mesh chair, designed to naturally respond to the body’s movements, provide comfort in an entirely new way and deliver on sustainability.

Inspired by the Kármán Line, where the earth’s atmosphere meets space, weightlessness becomes possible, and ‘going beyond’ becomes a reality, Steelcase has really pushed the limits of its design and engineering teams, to create a chair that goes beyond traditional mesh chairs.

In Sydney for both the Steelcase showroom opening and to present Karman to dealers and designers of Australia and New Zealand, Navedita Shergill, product management at Steelcase, said, “One of the big innovations with the chair is Intermix, a patented new material co-developed by Steelcase. It utilises an exclusive and patented weaving process that allows you to have that tactile feel and also the perfect suspension.”

Shergill speaks to the textile’s perfect tension, evenly distributes weight over the seat and back, while flexing to your movements and conforming to your body’s contours for optimal ergonomic support that never sags. It’s the athletic performance wear of modern task seating.

It also offers a new, softer aesthetic, sensitive to the evolving workplace in which domestic comfort is highly sought-after. Using multiple colours in the weave, Karman carries the appearance of a colour shift when viewed from different angles, a dynamic gradient impression that is hard to ignore.

Related: Orangebox, The transition into hybrid working 

Building upon its workplace knowledge and every high performing task chair it has released to date, Steelcase has designed Karman to be the culmination of all parts: design, engineering and the physics of ergonomics.

Both the seat and back on Karman carry an organic flexibility that harmonises with the movement in the lower frame. Not a straight line in sight.

“In a world experiencing fundamental changes in the way people work, whether at home, in the office or both, we need and want a chair that works better,” says Mark Spoelhof, design director for Steelcase. “Comfort is built into every aspect of Karman – it’s reactive to each body type and posture and adapts to all the different ways in which we might sit in a chair so you’re not aware of it, but it moves with you continually.”

Samantha Giam, vice president, marketing – Asia Pacific at Steelcase, points out the fluidity of the seating frame, which ends in a waterfall edge. “Because we know, over time, people are going to perch on the chair. And they’re probably going to sit sideways in it. Every part of Karman is designed to support them but not impinge on their comfort or movements.”

True to word, when you sit in the chair, it’s almost as if it rises up to meet your body, settling around it with such intuitive comfort, that “when you sit in it, it really does feels as if it has become a part of you,” says Shergill. Almost as if it is breathing with you, she says.

“‘We’ve had amazing reactions when people sit in it. People are like, “Oh my, I feel like I’m floating, I feel weightless, that’s amazing,’” Shergill says.

In establishing its sustainability credentials, Karman blend a reductive approach to components and materials, with a high performance structure. It uses sustainable materials and the least number of components necessary, with “many of Karman’s parts … doing double or triple duty, allowing it to function with about one-half less material than traditional task chairs, making it as organically responsive to the human body as possible,” says Spoelhof.

“Karman is the amalgam of all our learning and legacy – there’s DNA of every single one of our chairs built into it,” he says.

Karman is now available in Australia, visit Steelcase Sydney at 75 Elizabeth Street, Sydney.


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