To be considered for a Red Dot award is an honour in itself, but to achieve the “Best of the Best” distinction is a testament to a design’s truly transformative nature. This iconic red label, a mark of genuine trailblazers committed to innovation and quality, is the culmination of a rigorous review process by over 40 international experts who meticulously test and evaluate each product.

This year, the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” award for Product Design in the Office Chair category has been awarded to Herman Miller’s Fuld Nesting Chair. The ingenious design excelled across all four judging criteria: function, aesthetic appeal, ease of use, and responsibility – a clear indication of Stefan Diez’s masterful ability to connect the dots.

Fuld Nesting Chair: The horizontal revolution in stackable seating awarded Red Dot’s top distinction

“The challenge of designing a stackable office chair that is simultaneously foldable and has castors for mobility cannot be overestimated,” the jury’s verdict reads. “The Fuld Nesting Chair manages to cover all the essential functions in a convincing way.”

Stefan Diez admits that arriving at the winning design came with a little bit of detective work. “The job of a designer starts with observing people around you and society,” Stefan says. “And because not every behaviour is part of our daily experience, design involves a bit of detective work. That often leads to seeing patterns and to a moment where you feel there is something relevant, where things fall into place.”

For Diez, this investigative process involved delving into the world of space-saving, stackable seats commonly found in offices and education settings. This deep-dive revealed the nesting chair as a pivotal tool in creating versatile, adaptable space, however, Diez felt that the existing designs fell short, failing to reflect the chair’s true potential. Inspired by this revelation, the German designer embarked on a mission to redefine the very concept of a nesting chair, and honour its essence by creating a design that was not only practical and intuitive but also visually captivating. That’s where things fell into place.

Fuld Nesting Chair: The horizontal revolution in stackable seating awarded Red Dot’s top distinction

The result is the ingenious Fuld Nesting Chair: a disciplined and sculptural form that eschews the traditional X-shape for a streamlined inverted Y frame with tubular arms. The backrest, imbued with a touch of elasticity, effortlessly adapts to the user’s movements, promoting comfort and well-being throughout the workday. Visually, with its unique lines and variety of colours, including Herman Miller’s signature monochromatic “dipped-in-colour” options, Fuld’s curious and striking silhouette is bound to energise any space.

Crucially, thanks to their slightly elasticated backrests and foldable character of the seats, the chairs can be stacked horizontally rather than vertically. This creates a formation not dissimilar to shopping trolleys – the core idea behind this ingenious design, which not only reduces the effort involved but also makes it possible to arrange a multitude of chairs in moving rows.

Fuld Nesting Chair: The horizontal revolution in stackable seating awarded Red Dot’s top distinction

“The Fuld Nesting Chair not only impressed with its high level of functionality,” the jury’s statement continues. “The quality of use is also outstanding. It offers the necessary seating comfort and the backrest provides ergonomic support. And as a stacking chair, the lightweight construction and castors make it easy for users and building management to set up and stow away – a really sophisticated design.”

The chair’s restrained, one-piece construction not only exemplifies Diez’s disciplined ingenuity – it also reflects the designer’s responsible approach to materiality. Fuld’s pioneering one-piece construction, crafted from just two materials, not only minimises waste but also ensures easy recycling at the end of its lifecycle. Plus, the optional 3D Knit textile seat, made from 50% post-consumer recycled content, further underscores the chair’s commitment to sustainability. The resulting design reimagines the nesting chair as a wholly universal object, elevating its form, function and environmental impact.

Fuld Nesting Chair: The horizontal revolution in stackable seating awarded Red Dot’s top distinction

Exceptionally well received by the design community since its launch in September 2023, the Fuld Nesting Chair is not only Diez’s first design for Herman Miller, it’s also the brand’s first foray into the world of nesting chairs. To launch into a new area of design with a pioneering object that pushes the boundaries of the category is a truly commendable achievement – one that Fuld’s triumph at the Red Dot awards certainly solidifies.

Fuld Nesting Chair: The horizontal revolution in stackable seating awarded Red Dot’s top distinction

And as the chair takes its well-deserved place on display at the Red Dot Design Museum Essen, its impact is bound to extend far beyond the realm of awards and accolades. By transforming the idea of a nesting chair from a mere utilitarian item into a thoughtfully considered, mobile and versatile object, the Fuld Nesting Chair is bound to re-energise workplace dynamics, and revolutionise the way we plan, design and interact within our workspaces.

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