Liven it up, like a boss
Bristol’s Liven – An executive chair made for the head of the table.
Iconic architect and master of the unadorned line, Mies van der Rohe had this to say about designing a seat: “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” The German designer would know, after all he designed some of the 20th century’s most recognisable seating like the Barcelona and MR chairs. This dedication to perfection and single-minded persistence is reflected in Bristol’s journey when designing the Liven, an executive chair destined for greatness.
The Liven was conceived to meet the demand for a top of the line executive chair to complement Bristol’s range of high end chairs and tables, and as such it had to have presence and convey prestige. “We wanted to create a product that had a very contemporary form yet was classic in its look, a chair with an iconic design which would be timeless and could transcend trends,” explains Aditya Vernekar, Bristol’s Senior Industrial Designer.
A chair with great character, it is a perfect match for the high-end executive tables Bristol also offers.
Another aspect that shaped the Liven is the culmination of Bristol’s 30+ years of knowledge and experience. “If you look at the Liven’s seat curvature, we’ve refined the profile of the back rest compared to our preceding chairs, spanning three previous generations of chairs. The team took into account all the troubleshooting that went into Liven’s predecessors and put it into this chair to such an advanced degree that it would not be unfair to say, it cannot get better than the Liven,” enthuses Verneker.
Crafted from thermoplastic polymer and acrylic, the smooth high-gloss black finish of the backrest and seat shell was achieved by a precise polishing process.
The team looked to automotive designs for inspiration, specifically the sleek, sensual lines of Italian sports cars which is reflected in the stepped upholstery of the seat and the high gloss piano black casing resembling the exterior of a car bonnet– all which imbue the Liven with a strong stance yet feels organic when occupied, rather like sitting in the driver’s seat of a luxury roadster.
Despite the fruits of these decades of know-how, the Liven also underwent a rigorous R&D process which took approximately three years.
From prototyping to a battery of tests, the results allow the Liven to comply with the international ANSI BIFMA standards.
The biggest challenge the designers faced was the conundrum of building different categories of chairs on one platform: “Most manufacturers provide a few configurations in one design but we wanted to allow Liven to have up to 10 different configurations with different price points and aesthetic requirements. In the end, we’ve managed to design a chair series that shares the same core system and is efficient production wise.”
The Liven was designed as a broad product family for furnishing all areas within a company.
The rationale for this sort of customisation? While the Liven is a bosses’ chair, the Liven designers anticipated how designers would require some consistency in style for bigger projects. “When designers choose chairs, they’ll need a range of chairs to fit not just in the CEO’s office but in the board room down to the secretary’s desk. They would require a chair that works in different scenarios and could be a task chair or a meeting chair so we have made many different options from the same concept. One would be hard pressed to find a chair in the United States and Europe that is quite so versatile,” says Vernekar.
The half shell back version is a winning choice for smart boardrooms.
Beyond its design, the Liven also allows for a wide variety of personalisation by virtue of the materials available ranging from aniline leather, PVC and fabric, something rather unusual as executive chairs are often very limited in this aspect. This versatility also extends to the Liven’s ergonomic features which include an adjustable backrest and arm rests and sliding seats, allowing for superior comfort for users of all shapes and sizes. It would not be unfair to say that despite being an executive chair, Liven has all the qualities of a very dynamic task chair.
Sliding upholstered armrests and seats allow for personalisation.
The Liven was soft launched at the China International Furniture Fair in Guangzhou this April, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Dealers have been raving over its distinct looks and competitive price point. It has also been specified for several international and local M&C companies and rather interestingly, has proven particularly popular with doctor’s offices. Indeed, it would appear that whether in a board room or clinic, plush office or home study, having a Liven executive chair is a sure sign that you’ve arrived.