CYNARA is equipped with everything that Okamura believes to be the necessary functionality for office seating while at the same time being overwhelmingly light, with only half the mass of a traditional product. It also achieves a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions relative to traditional task chair products. The ultimate in lightness and functionality have been combined beautifully in this top-class item.
CYNARA’s development concept was based on an archer’s bow. It has an extremely simple structure while also being flexible, strong, and light. Its pliability is dynamically incorporated into the office seating’s reclining action. The design was led by Swiss design company b4K’s Andreas Krob and engineer Joachim Brüske and their innovative ideas were realized by Okamura’s planning team.
CG model during the idea phase
Image of lightened frame
The key reason to strive for lightness in CYNARA’s design was an investment in the SDGs and ESG that aim to make our society more sustainable. Lightness reduces the energy used for part procurement, distribution, and manufacture, as well as reducing the impact of the product’s final reclamation and recycling process.
The project began with the goal of creating the lightest office seating in the world.
How can something be made super-lightweight whilst still honoring the design and maintaining its strength? The development team wracked their brains over this question. They made prototypes, checked the structure, checked the comfort and smoothness of the reclining motion, and then looked for places to shave off weight. A significant shift in thinking seemed necessary. Andreas Krob and Joachim Brüske came to Japan to work on the strategy together.
They made the seat and backrest into a unified frame and performed strength analyses to cut away any excess parts. After making the seat and backrest into a unified frame, the final key to lightness which they arrived at was a new structure which allowed the seat to partially bend. This development resulted in the structure being more compact and the number of parts fewer, while the comfort was maintained. Stretching mesh across the unified seat and backrest frame directly also contributed to lightening the chair.
Meeting with Andreas Krob and Joachim Brüske at the Okamura factory
The development team was only able to achieve this degree of lightness by immersing themselves in the idea of contributing to a sustainable society.
Extremely pared down, simple structure
At Okamura, we have studied ergonomics for many years in an effort to find the ideal form for furniture. In particular, we have put effort into supporting people with better chairs, primarily through advanced reclining mechanisms. If the seat and backrest do not tilt together at the same angle, then a gap will form between the backrest and the person’s back, requiring them to constantly adjust their posture and clothing. If the backs of the knees are raised when changing the angle of the seat, this can lead to poor circulation and tingling in the lower legs. The reclining mechanism we arrived at to solve both those problems was ankle tilt reclining.
Smart ankle tilt reclining movement
The development team further evolved this ankle tilt reclining mechanism for CYNARA. Rather than installing an adjustment function for users to adjust the strength of the reclining, they set a constant strength which would satisfy users of all different body types. Nowadays, more and more people are working without their own personal chair as companies adopt ABW workstyles and hotdesking areas, so the idea was to make a chair which can be used by someone new without any discomfort. Okamura will continue to remain attuned and reactive to the changing times and trends in order to help make an easy-to-use and comfortable work environment.
Since sending Contessa into the world in 2003, we have sold countless mesh chairs. Okamura’s technology and know-how were instrumental to the completion of CYNARA. At Okamura we have always promoted our ankle tilt reclining concept, which mimics a person’s natural reclining movement. Evolving that further and developing a smart ankle tilt reclining mechanism which requires no user-adjustment presented a new challenge for us to overcome. The idea that lightness is directly tied to environmental friendliness was a new and rewarding realization for me.