Herman Miller Setu Review

Lets keep it real. The Herman Miller Setu is priced to sell at $650. It’s no Embody but in this economy throwing around over $1k for a chair is wishful. The good folks at Herman Miller sent one to try out and my bum (cue Brits laughing) and back thank you. The supportive mesh and innovative spinal support really do make the difference. Whatever you do, don’t call it a poor man’s Embody. Hit the jump for my review.

Updated with prototype pics!

So what about this spinal support system? Herman Miller calls it a Kinematic Spine. The rib cage-like design flexes as you lean forward and back. There are no adjustments. They’ve simplified the ergonomic chair into what all chairs should have done years ago when that word first started floating around – it just works. Sit down and it hugs your spine. The mesh doesn’t cut into your skin yet provides plenty of support. Ever sat in a cheap generic mesh chair? They quickly lose their form. You get what you pay for.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit about the design is the inspiration – the nautilus shell. I have a huge interest in biomimicry and I can definitely see how it applies here. The nautilus shell provides the soft body cephalopod with protection without hindering movement and all in a compact structure that uses the least amount of materials. The technology translates beautifully here since it only makes up a fraction of the structure yet is literally the backbone to the entire design.

As with almost all Herman Miller chairs, there are options galore. I have the basic model which is more than adequate for everyday use. I love how weightless it looks and the slow, soft, cushy feel every time I sink down. It’s impeccably constructed too – no squeaks or creaks.

What we loved:

  • Bio inspired design
  • High quality construction
  • Simplified ergonomics that work
  • Strong mesh support, no sagging
  • Only adjustment is vertical height, no other adjustment necessary
  • Priced to move $650

What could be improved:

  • Armrests may not work with every body type. Sometimes they get in the way

Designer: Herman Miller (Buy it here)