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A Classic Chair Gets a Modern Update

In the 1980s, a decade synonymous with big hair and bold colors, offices reflected a more buttoned-up vibe with monotone high-walled cubicles and stiff seating. At a time when few people discussed wellness in the workplace, the majority of office furnishings lacked ergonomic sophistication. But in 1987, one manufacturer introduced a chair that revolutionized the nature of workplace design by melding scientific research with a sleek aesthetic, prioritizing employee comfort. 

At that time, esteemed European designer, Burkhard Vogtherr, created the Motion Chair for Davis Furniture, carving a new niche in the market. The chair’s ability to adapt to the motion of the human body, and move in synchronization with its user’s every movement, disrupted traditional office seating. More than thirty years later, the company is introducing an updated take on this classic in celebration of its 75th anniversary—the M75.  

The M75 Chair is offered in a variety of colors. Photography courtesy of Davis Furniture. 

The M75, designed by Vogtherr in collaboration with Jonathan Prestwich, utilizes a slightly altered version of the Motion Chair’s original mechanism, enabling movement in the chair’s seat and back. The updated design takes on a sleek, minimalist aesthetic and intuitively adjusts to each users’ weight. Unlike the original model, the M75’s motion mechanism is tucked away in the chair’s seat, creating a cleaner look. 

“The geometry of the chair is designed so that the user acts as a counterweight for the movement of the seating mechanism,” says Ashley Davis Williams, Special Projects Director at Davis Furniture and great-granddaughter of company founder, John T. Davis, Sr. “Vogtherr and Prestwich took certain aspects of the Motion chair, namely the ideal comfort and the revolutionary mechanism, and worked to create the same result through a more sophisticated and modern design.”   

The M75 takes on a the look of a static sculpture with seamless lines. Photography courtesy of Davis Furniture. 

Davis Furniture’s new collection, which includes high-and-low-backed chairs, reflects the company’s storied history of innovative design—the M75 is unassuming, yet elegant. More importantly, the chair is crafted to optimize comfort. As more employers prioritize health and wellness in the workplace, the collection’s relevance is abundantly clear. 

The M75 features a stylish neutral palette and an array of accent finishes, from a polished aluminum base to a powder-coated one. Powder finishes include: Anthracite, Light Grey, Mid Grey, Silver, or Bronze as well as Matte Black, Matte White, or Matte Silver. Most fabrics and leathers can be used for the chair’s upholstery, adding to its unique ability to work well in traditional or modern spaces. Designers also will take comfort in knowing Davis Furniture is committed to sustainable design. The company currently is working to implement energy conservation initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases and limit its carbon footprint; it also earned a Gold Indoor Advantage Certificate for Executive Seating. 

“During this landmark year, we have the distinct pleasure of remembering the past 75 years of design at Davis Furniture and looking forward to the next 75 and beyond,” says Davis Williams. If the next 75 years prove to be as fruitful as the first, the design community has much to look forward to. 

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