Humanscale Finally Launches The Diffrient World Chair

Diffrient World Chair

Diffrient World Chair

Humanscale has at last launched its latest office seating creation the Diffrient World chair.

Designed by Neils Diffrient after whom the chair is named, it represents his latest ideas on comfortable eco-friendly seating.

He previously designed Humanscale’s Freedom and Liberty models which continue to remain popular ergonomic chairs appealing to a wide range of users.

It’s taken a lot longer than first expected for the Diffrient World to appear.

Why was the launch delayed so long?
It’s been two years since Humanscale first announced the impending launch of the Diffrient World. Whenever a product is developed from scratch, as this one was you can never be 100% certain that everything will turn out as originally planned.

What you expect to work sometimes doesn't and so it’s a case of modifying and changing things to take care of potential problems. Although Humanscale hasn’t gone into detail on the challenges it’s had it wasn't going to go to market with a product that wasn't totally right.

And when you offer an industry beating 15 year warranty on your products, almost right is not enough. So praise to Humanscale for ironing out the glitches first. Let’s take a look at what’s new about the chair.

What’s different about the Diffrient World chair?
The chair is designed to do the thinking for you. Apart from setting the height and the seat length to suit your body everything else is automated. It becomes a case if sit and go.

Simplicity is at the core of the chair. In total there are only 8 components helping to keep costs down. Not only that it only weighs 27 pounds for easy maneuverability. This is a far less than conventional office chairs.

The added benefit is that over 95% of the chair is recyclable when it does eventually need to be replaced.

The chair is suitable for users from 5’ 0” to 6’ 4” tall and weighing between 100 and 300lbs.

Where to find out more about the Diffrient World
Here’s where you find a full review of the Diffrient World chair explaining all about it.


Changes to the Varier Wing™ Balans® Kneeling Chair Mean Less Choice In The Future

wing balans knee chair

Varier Wing™ Balans® Kneeling Chair

Varier’s Wing™ Balans® chair is considered by many to be the most comfortable kneeling chair available today. Its special features make for a different sitting experience compared to other knee chairs.

First, when you sit on it you’ll notice it doesn’t feel harsh and instead yields softly so it doesn’t jar your body. This is due to a novel rubber flexor connection between seat and gas lift. The result is a comforting damper effect, rather than a hard landing.

Second the knee pads are adjustable, so you can set it up for your exact needs and comfort.


What is changing with the Wing™ Balans®?
Previously the chair was only offered with a wooden base and this came in natural, black or dark brown lacquer finish. Varier has now introduced a plastic base as well.

Why has the new base been introduced?
The addition of a plastic base was made primarily due to cost. And there is no doubt this has made a substantial difference to the price of the Wing™ Balans® as it cost $200 less if you choose to go with the plastic base.

What will happen in the future?
Although you have the choice of selecting either the wood base options or plastic at present, Varier plans to stop production of the wood bases. And so it’s likely they won’t be around for much longer. Even though the wooden bases are much better looking they do add an additional 36% to the cost of the chair. So you can understand Varier’s thinking on this.

I feel it’s a shame that the ability to opt for a wooden base won’t last much longer. And in fact the dark brown base is already on back order. So, if you are thinking of buying a Wing™ Balans® and like the wood base it’s probably best to do so sooner rather than later.

For more on the Wing™ Balans®
Here's where you will find a review of this excellent kneeling chair and this online seating specialist currently offers all versions of the Wing™ chair.


The Office Chair Revolution: How Modern Ideas And Materials Are Turning Tradition On Its Head

In my previous post I took a look at Herman Miller’s new Sayl chair with its suspension back inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Rise Of The Open Cell Back

Sayl Chair

Sayl Chair Back Detail

The true sophistication of the chair’s back isn't that obvious although it looks stylish and modern. At first glance the back just appears to be an open plastic mesh, which whilst true, belies its actual capabilities.

Every part of the complex web-like structure has been precision designed to provide just the right amount of comfort and support so users don’t suffer fatigue or discomfort.

Closer examination shows the open web framing uses different thicknesses of material and cell shapes to give you support where it’s most needed while at the same time allowing freedom of movement. As it’s frameless you never feel the constraints of hard edges yet know your back and spine are being taken care of.

Generation chair back

Generation Chair Back

When Formway Design came up with the idea for Knoll’s Generation chair it too wanted to produce a chair offering great comfort as well as unrestrained movement. It also opted for an open cell back and yet it’s quite different in design to the Sayl, being partially double skinned in the middle.

It’s largely due to creative thinking and modern materials that these chairs have been introduced. In fact, it’s likely 10 years ago neither product would have been feasible.

Multiple Layer Mesh

Liberty Mesh Back

Liberty Mesh Back Detail

Another interesting development in chair back design is the advanced use of materials. Take Humanscale’s Liberty chair with its form-sensing technology. It’s made up from 3 panels of mesh cleverly sewn together to create a supportive contoured shape.

Unlike single panel mesh it doesn’t just sag as body weight is applied, instead it displaces and provides proper support and comfort.


Self-Adjusting Chairs
The other big change in recent years is the trend towards self-adjusting chairs. This largely eliminates the need to pull levers and turn knobs as these chairs recognize user movement and respond accordingly.

HÅG’s Futu chair with its inBalance mechanism is a good example of this type of chair. It’s designed to carefully and comfortably support user movement and for those who like to tweak things it has a simple 5 step lever for fine tuning. For most though this isn't necessary and it’s a question of sit and forget.

What Are The Common Threads In Modern Office Chair Design?
It’s fascinating to see the different innovative ideas designers create and although the result is a diverse range of products there are certain fundamental things they are all working towards.

Taking a look at office seat design over the past 10 years or so the trend is towards:

  • Greater comfort, support and overall user experience
  • Huge advances in environmentally friendly materials
  • Simpler products, automating functions where possible
  • Fewer components and overall reduction in the weight of the end product
  • Innovative use of modern materials, often never previously used in chairs

Future Trends
Overall there has been a significant improvement in office chair design in recent years and it’s likely that this will continue as manufacturers attempt to keep up with each other.

It’s also true to say that these radical new designs have all come from major players in the office furniture industry. This is unlikely to change as the cost of developing products from scratch can run into millions of dollars and so puts it beyond the reach of all but the largest in the industry.


Jobri Jazzes Up Its Kneeling Chair Range

Jobri Jazzy Kneeling Chair

Jobri Jazzy Kneeling Chair

Until recently if you wanted a Jobri Kneeling Chair you could have any fabric color as long as it was Black. Whilst this probably made inventory very easy to control it was hardly customer friendly.

To help improve things Jobri has recently added the Jazzy model to its range which is an enhanced version of its Solace chair. Jazzy still comes in Black, with the additional option of Red, Blue, Grey and Beige fabric.

As well as this improvement the new addition has a polished aluminum 5 star base and also includes memory foam seat, knee and back pads.

It is surprising how much better the product looks following this upgrade.

It has also decided to change the model names and overall the range is now marketed under the BetterPosture banner. What used to be the Deluxe chair is now known as the Solace and the wood version previously called the Wood Accent now becomes the Classic, not exactly inspiring new model names are they?

Here's where you can find a more detailed review of the Standard, Solace and Jazzy kneeling chairs and also the Classic wood knee seat.


Herman Miller Sayl™ Chair – Inspired By Suspension Bridge Design

Herman Miller Sayl chair

Herman Miller Sayl™ Chair

Leading office chair manufacturer Herman Miller best known for its Aeron and Embody chairs is launching another offering in mid-January 2011 with its Sayl™ chair.

The chair is the brainchild of designer Yves Béhar who has cleverly applied the principle of suspension bridge design into the new product.

3D Elastomer Suspension Back
The result is an ingeniously designed back which is frameless, so no nasty hard edges digging into your back. Its back is made up of a framework of 3D open cell elastomer strands where varying thicknesses are used to give good support where most needed yet still allowing freedom of movement for the user.

Basic and Highly Adjustable Models + Extras
As Miller chairs go the Sayl™ is competitively priced starting at $399 in its basic format rising to $599 for the highly adjustable model and both versions carry Herman Miller’s 12 year warranty.

To be fair the basic version is somewhat limited having fixed arms, tilt tension for user weight control and height adjustment, although adjustable can be added as an extra.

To get essential features like sliding seat adjustment for optimum leg comfort and height and swivel adjustable arms you need to look to the highly adjustable version. It’s also possible to add some extra features like forward seat tilt for those doing close up computer work. There is an option to add an adjustable lumbar support too which could be handy for lower back pain sufferers.

Launches Mid-January 2011
You can get further information at Herman Miller’s site on the Sayl™ which is due for launch early New Year and I plan to add a full review of this chair in January. Miller is expecting a lot of interest in its new chair and this site is already taking Sayl™ pre-orders for what is likely to be a popular product.


Clash Of The Office Furnishings Industry Titans: 2 Major Exhibitions Next Week

Next week sees two major office furnishings exhibitions, one each side of the Atlantic and both well represented with office chairs.

ON chair by Wilkhahn

The Wilkhahn ON Chair

First, Orgatec 2010 in Cologne, Germany runs from 26 – 30 October, it’s held every two years and is Europe's leading office furniture exhibition. Although it covers all facets of the office furnishings market, chairs for the office will be well represented.

Amongst the exhibitors is Wilkhahn and its funky new ON chair looks intriguing. The chair’s revolutionary support system really does move wherever you move and Das Büro magazine voted it the clear winner in an evaluation of 10 different swivel chairs. The ON and other Wilkhahn products can be seen in Hall 6.1 Stand B88/89.

Meanwhile in the US NeoCon East 2010 runs for 2 days on October 28 and 29. In all there are 250 exhibitors at the Baltimore Convention Center, covering a very wide range of Architectural Products, Floor coverings, Furniture, Lighting, Textiles and Wallcoverings.

Despite the wide variety of products office seating plays a leading role as 10% of the exhibitors are office chair companies, including major players like Haworth, Herman Miller, HON, Humanscale, Knoll and Steelcase.

So, whichever side of the pond you are, each exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to see a wide range of office seating at first hand.


Neutral Posture’s New 5 Way Arms Offer The Ultimate In Office Seat Comfort

Neutral Posture 5 Way Arm

5 Way Adjustable Arm

Neutral Posture has recently upgraded its adjustable arms and these are available  for all its chairs.

The previous arms already had great functionality.

However its new 5 way arms offer outstanding adjustability and flexibility and are unequaled in features on any other office chair I know.

Here's what you can do with these latest arms and all this can be achieved while still sitting in you chair.

Armrest Height
The arms can be adjusted over a generous 4 inches in height, simply press the squeeze button on the side and move them up or down to suit your needs. This gives the ability to set them in a choice of 10 different positive pre-set positions.

Arm Angle Rotation
The head of the arm can be rotated through a full 360° and set in a choice of 24 different angle settings. This is very useful for different tasks like data entry, reading books and reports, intensive mousing etc.

The settings are easily controlled by a squeeze lever under the arm.

Arm Pad Side To Side Setting
This is a fine tuning adjustment allowing the width of the arms to be varied by an 1 inch to ensure the arm pads are fully supporting your arms correctly.

Arm Pad Front To Back Adjustment
A very useful feature when you need to get in closer to your work and still have good arm support. It enables the user to move the arms 2 inches front to back and is controlled by a squeeze button on the edge of the arm pad.

Arm Width
This is a feature far too few office chairs have and allows you to adjust the overall width of the arms by up to 4 inches. Using a simple lock release lever at the base of the arm makes setting this up very easy.

This feature is likely to be useful if you have narrow shoulders as it will enable you to support your arms squarely. All too often fixed width arms are too wide for smaller framed users and they end up having to splay their arms outwards which can cause discomfort when working.

All in all the flexibility and comfort of these arms with their soft urethane pads are unrivaled; here's where you can find more detail on the 5-Way 360° adjustable arms. This article takes a look at Neutral Posture's most popular office chair ranges.


Why HÅG’s Award Winning Futu Chair Is Now Even Better: Five Great Modifications

Futu Chair

HÅG Futu Chair

The Futu chair from HÅG won a coveted red dot design award in March 2010 and has recently been further improved, these modifications make it an even better chair.

The seat foam is now a little softer than before giving better user comfort, however it is still a high quality foam which won’t flatten with use and is guaranteed for 10 years.

Additionally the foam’s contour has been redesigned and is now a little less convex in shape making it more comfortable in use.

Another great addition is the option to include soft padding to the tops of the armpads. This small improvement will be a welcome option if you find normal armrests cause pain to the underside of your arms.

The self adjusting inBalance mechanism which automatically controls the chair’s action in harmony with the user’s body movement has been tweaked too.

It’s noticeably smoother in use and those who like to lock their seat in a preset position will find the lock function is much easier to control now.

Finally, the available upholstery fabrics have been increased to give considerably more choice of finishes.

HÅG also takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously, the chair is made from 50% recycled materials and some 97% of the chair is recyclable.

There’s an interesting article in this month’s issue of Interiors Monthly about HÅG’s Futu chair, you can find the article in the September issue of Interiors Monthly.

Here's where you can read a review of the Futu chair.


Would Captain Jim Kirk Like His New Chair? Introducing The HÅG H09

Inspiration chair

H09 Inspiration Chair

HÅG's H09 series replaced its old Signet chair which many will be familiar with as it was the chair used on the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise and I'm sure Captain Kirk and the crew would be happy with the new version.

The H09 represents HÅG's flagship offering in executive office chairs.

Designed and made in Norway these chairs are built to a high standard with great detailing which will appeal to those who seek the best in style and comfort.

HÅG offers 3 models in Europe, however it chose to drop the most traditional model the Classic in the North American market, preferring to stick with the 2 most popular models the Inspiration and the Excellence.

The Inspiration has a high mesh back, whereas the Excellence is an all leather version and both offer wide ranging adjustability and comfort.

You can read more about both models in this review.


Struggling Finding Comfort When Sitting? The Chair Makeover™ Enhances Most Types Of Chair

Chair Makeover™

Chair Makeover™

If you struggle to get comfortable when sitting for any length of time a Chair Makeover™ could well help.

This lightweight portable body support has been designed to provide lasting comfort for virtually any type of seat with a back.

It is made from high quality visco-elastic foam which eases pressure to the legs and back. Incorporated within the back is a pre-formed lightweight steel frame shaped to follow the natural curve of the user’s spine. This provides both proper lower and upper back support.

The Chair Makeover™ comes finished in a durable hygienic fabric in a choice of 5 different colors and folds neatly in half when not in use.

It works well with a wide variety of sitting situations including the office, home, restaurants, auditoriums, autos and public transport.

Whatever seat you have to sit in, as long as it has a back this handy portable seat comforter should help improve things.

You can find a more detailed review of the Chair Makeover™ here.

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