Designer Focus: Yves Behar, Designer of the Sayl Chair

Designer Focus: Yves Behar, Designer of the Sayl Chair

Ah, the SAYL Chair (2010): a notorious piece found in office spaces around the world. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? 

Here at Reseat, we see dozens of these task chairs come through our site, being given a new home and a second chance to liven up whichever new space it will occupy. 

Yves Béhar, the mind behind this chair, is a Swiss designer whose career took off while studying design in San Francisco. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Béhar decided to pursue his design studies on the coast of California, seeking innovation and nods toward the future in efforts to improve overall quality of life. 

In an interview with Klat Magazine, Béhar makes it undeniably clear that change is a vital element of design, thus the basis of San Francisco’s appeal. In the nineties, Béhar studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he soon received a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Design. 

This time, however, was categorized as being a period of “great changes” around the technological scene of the world, as described by Béhar, of which were to be embraced head first. 

In fact, according to Béhar, these changes are the basis upon which great designs take their shape. 

Arguably, this is a mentality that not only designers, but businesses around the world should embody given the ever-changing state of our lives and the ways that many fields across the workforce operate! 

In embodying change and efficiency, Béhar has designed for many global brands such as Herman Miller, Prada, Puma, Samsung, and many others. Seemingly, there is a pattern of variety covered by Béhar, and this holds very true throughout his ongoing career. 

Béhar took a large role in designing the JAMBOX and the BIG JAMBOX, which are a line of wireless bluetooth speakers. He was also heavily involved in designing wearable technology company, Jawbone’s, health and fitness wristband. 

Before designing these products, however, Béhar sought after investing in his own operation, an industrial design and brand management firm called Fuseproject, founded in 1999. It was then that his collaborations with the previously mentioned global brands began to take their shape. 

The variety of industrial sectors is arguably what fuels his firm’s innovation. Overseeing various sectors including fashion, sports, technology, lifestyle, and design ultimately led Fuseproject to achieve the title of top winner of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Additionally, Fast Company included Béhar’s firm with awards of fourteen products. 

On top of having been credited for his firm’s variety of successes, Béhar is also the chief industrial designer of One Laptop per Child’s XO laptop, beginning his involvement in 2006. 

Béhar ended up making his return back to design school, only this time as the chair of the Industrial Design Program at the California College of the Arts. 

His work has also made multiple appearances across museums and exhibitions around the world, of which include permanent displays MoMa and SFMoMa. He now sits on the board of trustees for the SFMoMa.  

Through 2019, Béhar has collaborated on dozens of projects, not only including the SAYL chair, speakers, and his own design firm, but a smart bassinet, juicer, and a smart drinking glass. Aside from the world of design, however, Béhar has also contributed to programs that support the lives of adolescent girls living in poverty. 

The SPRING accelerator program ran from July 2014 to September 2019. In their five years, they assisted in supporting over two million adolescent girls across nine different countries after aiming for 200,000. The countries reached include Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Myanmar. 

Serving as the principal designer of the SPRING program, Béhar took part in outperforming their goal by creating “sustainable markets for life-enhancing products and services.” 

Given his brief summary of projects, collaborations, and successes, Yves Béhar truly is one of a kind in that his goals as a designer truly do reflect his morals. The fruits of success should bear benefits not only to him, but the rest of the world as well. 

We love to see it.