Steelcase Unveils First-of-Its-Kind Ergonomic Chair Designed for 21st Century Work

Steelcase introduces its latest seating innovation that reimagines and goes beyond other leading mesh chairs. Designed to naturally respond to a body’s movement, it delivers industry-leading comfort and sustainability.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 Grand Rapids, Mich.- Steelcase Karman™, a first-of-its-kind ergonomic chair, was unveiled today by Steelcase Inc, a global leader in ergonomic seating design. Steelcase Karman is designed to naturally respond to the body’s movement and deliver comfort in an entirely new way. Its 21st century design combines a new proprietary mesh textile that doesn’t sag or feels stiff, with an ultra-light-flexible frame that eliminates stiff edges, so people feel less pressure on the seat and back than other, traditional mesh chairs. Weighing only 29 pounds, it’s designed for sustainability, using minimal materials and resources, yet strong enough to support all body types.

Forty percent of people say they need to change postures frequently because of physical discomfort, according to Steelcase research conducted in 2019. Since then, people are even more aware of the need for comfort after spending hours on video calls during the pandemic sitting in chairs of various quality and even improvised set-ups such as sofas, kitchen tables and beds.

“We believe the best user experience is one you don’t notice, so we wanted to design a chair that makes comfort effortless, that responds and moves as you do, and fits all types of bodies.  And we wanted to give it a presence that looks great in the home or the workplace,” said James Ludwig, vice president of global design and engineering.

Inspired by the Kármán Line, where the earth’s atmosphere meets space, weightlessness becomes possible, and where going beyond becomes a reality, Steelcase pushed the boundaries of existing design and engineering to go beyond traditional mesh chairs, using new technologies and unique materials.

The Steelcase design studio created a one-of-a-kind patented hybrid seat that combines an all-new performance textile, called Intermix, with an integrated cushioning system. Instead of a rigid frame that’s used in most mesh chairs, the team innovated a systemic design approach in which the textile is suspended from a lightweight frame that flexes, so it eliminates painful pressure points and puts less pressure on people’s backs and seats. Eliminating stiff edges means people can comfortably sit any way they want, leaning or sitting sideways, which isn’t possible with many other mesh chairs.

Intermix is a new proprietary textile using patented ShrinxTM technology. Its exclusive weave creates ideal ergonomic support, so it doesn’t sag or feels stiff. Intermix is a self-supporting textile with spring, rebound and total stability. It distributes weight evenly over the seat and back, flexing to an individual’s movement and fitting the contours of their body.

Steelcase Karman also goes beyond other mesh chairs by offering an industry-leading color range — 13 proprietary Intermix colors and a variety of Lux finishes make extensive aesthetic options. Intermix filaments can be spaced close together for an opaque look or further apart for a transparent, more traditional mesh look. Inspired by athletic performance wear, Intermix can include multiple colors in the weave, creating the appearance of a color shift when looking at the chair from different angles.

“We also challenged ourselves to push the boundaries of traditional performance chairs by reducing the number of materials necessary without sacrificing comfort. We designed a chair with sustainable materials that weighs only 29 pounds – less than other mesh chairs — yet the engineering makes it incredibly strong, able to support all shapes and sizes,” notes Ludwig.  “It is the summation of everything we’ve learned over decades about comfort, ergonomics, materiality and the way people work.”

The chair is expected to be available in the Americas and Asia Pacific in early 2022 and in EMEA in the summer 2022. For more information, visit

About Steelcase 

Organizations around the world trust Steelcase to help them create places that help people work better, be inspired and accomplish more. The company designs, manufactures and partners with other leading organizations to provide architecture, furniture, and technology solutions – accessible through a network of channels, including over 800 Steelcase dealer locations. Steelcase is a global, industry-leading, and publicly traded company with fiscal year 2021 revenue of $2.6 billion. For more information, visit