open up – an office swivel chair that continues to write design history

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79804 Dogern
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Each year, World Design Day is celebrated on April 27. The intention behind this day is clearly defined: It aims to raise public awareness of the value of design and its ability to make a difference in the world. Designers should think about the well-being of people in their local environment and find innovative solutions to local needs. 

This is a goal that is also shared by the German company Sedus. For over 150 years, Sedus has been developing office solutions designed to enhance people's well-being in the workplace. An office swivel chair that is making design history in the company is the open up model.

"Before the year 2000, high backrests and also armrests in office chairs were distinct hierarchical attributes reserved for upper management," explains Michael Kläsener, designer at Sedus. "With the market launch of the open up 22 years ago, Sedus broke the mould. We focused on people and their needs in the workplace. open up is an office swivel chair with a high backrest, headrest, height-adjustable armrests and an unparalleled integrated “Similar” mechanism and dorsokinetics, which was an absolute design highlight in 2000 and is still as relevant and timeless today as it was then."

Timeless design and clear language

Since the end of the 20th century, Sedus has been synonymous with serious ergonomics and outstanding product quality. Design features, such as product aesthetics or colour variance, however, were associated with the brand by few experts at the time. The product launch of open up in 2000, however, sent a clear signal for a change of image. 

"The design language of open up is clear and classic at the same time," says Kläsener. "The chair is streamlined and efficient and that makes open up unique." The design of open up was created from the front and rear views as well as the side views. While from the rear and front view the office chair speaks rather a strict, graphic language of form, the side view reveals its organic features. "The side view of open up is characterised by softly running curves that create an association with the contour of the human body," says Kläsener.

open up has been expanded in recent years with a Modern Classic Edition and has become even more comfortable. For this purpose, high-quality, sustainable glove leather is precisely processed by hand. Thus, each model bears the personal signature of the employee who made it. 

Working while sitting, standing or lying down

Freedom of movement creates freedom for ideas – that was and still is the intention of open up. The swivel chair has a backrest tilt of up to 45 degrees. This makes the chair suitable not only for comfortable sitting in an upright position; lying down and relaxing is also spontaneous and easy. To round things off, we added an ottoman with a writing tablet so that users could put their feet up while working or even work while standing up.

open up clearly shows that design is more than pure form language and aesthetics. A novel interpretation and extension of the classic office chair opens up the realisation of new functions for more free space and movement and an activity-based adaptation to the user. A value that, in combination with a dorsokinetically suspended backrest, is unmatched by any other office chair on the market. The flexible backrest connection optimally supports the body during all turning and sideways movements.

The dorsokinetics built into the chair is an invention by Sedus. "The dorsokinetics developed by Sedus was first used in the Paris chair in 1987," explains Kläsener. "This legendary component, which allows the backrest to follow and support the movements of the person sitting on it, is for me personally a milestone in the history of office swivel chair design. The height-adjustable 3D armrests bring additional comfort for the employee."

These unique design features were also the reason why the chair was awarded five design prizes between 2000 and 2003: The red dot Design Award 2000, the iF Design Award 2001, the Best of NeoCon 2001, the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany 2002 and the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award 2003.

open up has been selling consistently well for 22 years. Over the years, the office swivel chair became a product family featuring a visitor chair and a conference chair. If you want to learn more about the design history of open up, find the complete interview with Michael Kläsener on our Sedus blog WHAT’S UP?:

TO Mediacenter

You can also download all the images and documents from the Sedus Media Center.

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