Revolutionising furniture design

Day Hille chair exhibition


Richard Snell, School of Fashion, Textiles and 3D Design


Since 1989, our researchers have produced innovative chair designs which have benefited schools, orchestras and care homes across the world. Key areas of knowledge have been developed through detailed studies of the operational needs of specific communities and their postural requirements. The research has resulted in a series of innovations and registered designs.

Research and progress

The journey began as a study into the seating needs of musicians at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, but has broadened its range to meeting the needs of users in schools and colleges across the UK.The original work investigated the postural and ergonomic requirements of musicians, incorporating complex curved and laminated components for the seat and back.

The latest research is looking at ‘Age Inclusive Seating', which involves analysing existing care home chairs and the needs of elderly users as well as their carers. 

Who benefits

The musician’s chairs are used by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the National Theatre and major concert halls across the world. The school chair is being specified by architects and designers working on new build projects throughout the UK looking for a visually refreshing chair which addresses current postural issues. 

Schools have noted the difference that these chairs are making in the improved concentration of their children, whilst orchestras are able to rehearse for longer.

Download the full impact case study submitted to REF 2014

Download our flyer for this story (PDF)

This innovative research has made an impact all over the world.

“I am firmly of the opinion that Opus chairs are the market leader for orchestral musicians.” 

Director of Orchestral Management, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra