Secretlab designers on Lamborghini, Hans Zimmer & THAT Cyberpunk chair

Secretlab designers on Lamborghini, Hans Zimmer & THAT Cyberpunk chair
Images via Secretlab

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes


18th Apr 2024 11:48

Singapore-based Secretlab was founded in 2014, and has since gone on to appear just about anywhere. The company’s range of chairs has proliferated across the globe, with a whole host of unique designs ranging from Game of Thrones to League of Legends and plenty more besides.

As we approach the release of the new Monster Hunter 20th Anniversary chair, I wanted to speak to the team behind so many impressive designs, including the infamous Cyberpunk 2077 collaboration, as well as working with Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer.

Cars, Carbon Fibre, and Collabs

Secretlab's House of the Dragon chair
Click to enlarge

With some Secretlab products tied into upcoming game launches, I asked how early the team would start conceptualising the designs.

The time needed to bring our collaborations to life varies for each Special Edition. Without revealing too much, we’ve been close partners with some of these top game studios for years, and these conversations could start way ahead of time,” Beatrice Wee, Head of Global Partnerships says.

A lot of us at Secretlab are avid gamers, big cinematic geeks, and luxury car enthusiasts too. Being big fans and strong subject matter experts in our field is the key foundation for creating unique partnerships with these world-renowned brands and also allows us to design products that fans would be excited by,” she says, pointing to the colour-changing sword on the Demon Slayer Giyu chair from last year and the Secretlab SKINS range that lets users customise their existing chairs with patterns like Boba Fett’s weathered armour.

When designing a Special Edition product, the most exciting part is curating all the unique elements that would resonate with fans in that community,” Lead Licensed Product Designer, Gabriel Lim reveals.

There’s a lot of groundwork that goes into this, including conversations with partners to create the most authentic fan experience. We obsess over each stitch, colour, shade and fabric to ensure they’ve served their place and purpose. As chair specialists, it’s also equally important for us to balance creating these unique designs with delivering the same quality and ergonomic comfort that Secretlab has become known for."

One particular challenge came from working with car manufacturer Lamborghini for the Lamborghini Pinnacle Edition.

Secretlab Lamborghini crossover
Click to enlarge

I’m a huge car enthusiast and knew that integrating carbon fibre into our chair design was crucial, given its importance in the craftsmanship of Lamborghini’s super sports cars,” Lim explains.

Working with carbon fibre was a first for us, or any chair brand for that matter. We spent countless hours experimenting with the material, and the carbon fibre shell alone went through over 20 iterations before we were satisfied with it.

Secretlab has even taken to customising the box of its Special Edition products, and adding small accessories like the VALORANT chair’s included ‘gun buddy’.

Because we’re always brainstorming and experimenting with new designs, there will always be ‘weird’ ideas when we stretch our creativity,” Lim says.

For those who are familiar with our League of Legends collection, one of our initial concepts was creating a furry Tibbers Edition chair. While this ultimately didn't materialise, it did eventually take form in our Tibbers Edition Lumbar Pillow.

Still, many chair manufacturers are seeing the potential in licensed tie-ins, so what helps inform Secretlab’s strategy?

We don’t blindly pursue fleeting trends and gimmicks – that’s short-term thinking,” Wee explains.

Many of our partners are strategic, long-term partners who make exceptional investments in their IPs. In a similar way, our partners also appreciate our commitment to both quality and meaningful design elements for the franchise.

Riot Games, for one, has been one of our longest-standing partners. Our initial chair partnership for League of Legends Esports (Lolesports) tournaments grew into an extended partnership with VALORANT Esports, followed by a licensing opportunity that now spans across both these titles”, she says, noting that Secretlab was the first brand to launch licensed VALORANT products.

To Hollywood

Hans Zimmer's studio with a Secretlab chair
Click to enlarge

It’s not just gaming partnerships, though, and Secretlab’s 2019 Dark Knight chair to celebrate Batman’s 80th Anniversary Edition opened up a new partner in Warner Bros. That led to additional partners, but also one very special customer - Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer.

Being a music junkie, I stumbled across the ‘Mix with the Masters’ video on YouTube. And then later, his 60 Minutes Interview,” Wee explains.

Seeing that familiar chair silhouette in Hans' sections of the video, after multiple scans back and forth, was surreal. Production studios are notorious for using mesh chairs, which is why we were so intrigued by Hans’ choice and decided to reach out.

During our conversation with him, we were thrilled to hear about how his Secretlab chair has been a crucial ingredient to his productivity, driving him forward to create many of the masterpieces we know and love today. In fact, Dune and Top Gun: Maverick were actually scored in his Secretlab TITAN Evo chair.

We also discovered a lot about the intensity of the composing process, with artists like Hans spending up to 16 hours a day seated, and how an ergonomic chair can really make a whole lot of difference. It gives me a rush of pride knowing that Hans Zimmer is still using this chair today, after catching glimpses of it in the Behind-the-Scenes of Dune: Part Two video.

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A trip to Night City

Arguably Secretlab’s most famous product, the Cyberpunk 2077 collab chair was unmistakable when it arrived. With a bright yellow body and bearing the name of 2020’s most anticipated game, the chair was incredibly popular - even appearing in developer CD PROJEKT RED’S Night City Wire videos ahead of release.

We were all blown away when our Cyberpunk 2077 Edition chair sold out within hours,” Wee recalls.

I remember our team coming together to work out pre-orders so fans could still reserve a unit — and then those pre-orders were filled up almost instantly too. CD PROJEKT RED has been such an incredible partner to Secretlab.

"We both value creating an authentic experience for like-minded fans and worked hard for this shared goal. Our designers listened to their inspiration behind Cyberpunk 2077’s iconic visuals and rich lore, before bringing Night City’s most distinctive elements to the chair.

So, what’s next? Wee says that the company’s MAGNUS desk lineup will see some updates in the future, as well as more SKINS for Cyberpunk: Edgerunners fans.

My personal favourite is our Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Collection, which captures the personalities of Lucy and Rebecca to a tee,” she said.

With studios lining up to work with the company on upcoming products, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a Destiny collab down the line.

Lloyd Coombes
About the author
Lloyd Coombes
Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.
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