28 June 2016

The brief, titled sedentary lives, seemed like a great opportunity to involve Herman Miller in the Inclusive Challenge. Herman Miller’s experience in the design of office seating and work space environments was a perfect fit with the brief, and we saw our parallel journey through the Challenge as an interesting approach. Insight sessions with extreme users allowed us to understand the problems associated with sedentary lives with people of varying levels of physical ability. It gave us the opportunity to question people about the environments and products they felt let down by in the context of sedentary lives.

We began to question and evaluate how well current cushions really perform and if they were appropriate for the situations people used them in. 

Our aim

To reinvestigate an icon of sedentary adaptation to create a more flexible, and functionally relevant seating product.

Mo is lightweight with a slim profile to ensure it fits easily into a bag, allowing the user to carry it around and use it in any environment, particularly where the quality of the seating can’t be guaranteed. Some of these situations may only be very temporary sedentary periods, but for those of us with ageing bodies sitting for any length of time can be uncomfortable. Mo acts as an emotional support softening anxieties about in-adequate seating outside of the home, that may be a barrier for some when thinking about going out. It’s also the very young who are often let down by poor furniture solutions. School children across the country are seated for the majority of the day, large numbers on cheap plastic stacking chairs. Whilst growing our body needs more support than ever.

Mo takes some of the health positive features found in pixelated support technology, and translates those benefits into a smaller, flexible, and potentially more affordable package. Mo may also present users with a more accessible stepping stone into the Herman Miller brand.

What the judges said

Praising the extremely high quality of all the entries to this year’s DBA Inclusive Design Challenge, the judges called Mo. outstanding, an ‘intelligent journey from start to finish’. 

‘They felt it was a thoroughly researched, compelling, single-minded, technically clever and genuinely inclusive solution with a great deal of potential that could encourage people to venture out. In the care home context, its ease of cleaning and disinfection would cut costs, reduce storage needs and help cut their carbon footprint. They praised the team for the multiplicity of scenarios of use they had opened up for the product - in the home, for children, nomadic workers and frequent travellers’

(What the judges gave us...copulating seacucumbers!)

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