Keep It Simple, Sustainable" /> Keep It Simple, Sustainable" />

Contract - May 2009 - (Page 70)

focus keeping it simple, sustainable The Diffrient World Chair by Niels Diffrient for Humanscale replaces mechanical design with the principles of physics Niels Diffrient explains his design process by harking back to a story he once heard about Pablo Picasso, who responded to the question, “How long did it take you to paint this?” with the answer, “72 years [the artist’s age at the time].” With numerous iconic consumer and commercial furnishings products to his credit, this renowned industrial designer is always learning from his last design in order to deliver the next. “I get my inspiration from the idea that I can make something better,” says Diffrient. His Freedom Chair for Humanscale set a new standard in ergonomic seating when it was introduced in 1999, and it was followed by the Liberty Chair in 2004. His latest endeavor for Humanscale, the Diffrient World Chair, is billed by the company as “the simplest, smartest, most sustainable task chair on the planet.” The designer is equally as enthusiastic, explaining his process. “I always begin with the same comfort standard and eliminate elements not needed to reach those standards,” he says. The goal for this chair was to be more efficient, simpler, and more elegant. “Efficiency to me is both the method of putting the chair together and human factors. It was about doing more with less,” he adds. Among the chair’s most important features is the patent-pending Form-Sensing Mesh Technology, which instinctively adapts to the unique shape of each user for custom lumbar support, thus eliminating the need for external lumbar devices or manual adjustment. Another important feature, the dynamic, weight-sensitive, counterbalance recline provides the appropriate recline support—also without manual controls—for 95 percent of users. “The laws of physics have replaced mechanical parts,” notes Humanscale president Bob King. With fewer parts, both simplicity and ecology are enhanced. Weighing just 25 lbs., with only eight major parts (80 parts in total), the Diffrient World Chair stakes its claim for sustainability on the “less is more” concept. In addition, the chair mostly is made of recycled and recyclable plastics. Overall, it is more than 95 percent recyclable. Other key features include a mesh seat with a frameless front edge that leaves only soft, pressure-reducing elastomer under the thighs. Two easy-to-use controls under the seat allow users to adjust seat height and depth. Optional armrests attach to the recline pivot point to move with the sitter during recline. As a corporate design philosophy, Humanscale believes that people in general do not make adjustments to their chairs, and that too much complexity negatively impacts users by forcing them into injury-prone postures. As a result, the company’s products tend toward the simpler solution of automatic functionality wherever possible, and the Diffrient World Chair—so named in anticipation of its universal appeal—clearly fits the bill. “It’s very, very simple,” emphasizes Diffrient. “It doesn’t have elaborate elements like other chairs, many of which are there to convince people that it’s a technological marvel. I design to an old-fashioned ethic—restraint.” Visit Humanscale at NeoCon® in space #351. Reader Service No. 200 By Jennifer Busch Give us your feedback on this story at 70 contract may 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - May 2009

Contract - May 2009
Exhibition: Best of NeoCon® 2009
Keep It Simple, Sustainable
Generation NextGeneration Next
All Lit Up
Outside the Box
LEED v3: A Highly Evolved Solution
The Office Evolution
Brand New
Jump Start
Tailored Fit
The Energizer Effect
Diamond in the Rough
Chat Room
Designers Rate: Panel Fabrics
Ad Index

Contract - May 2009