Steelcase, Knoll & Humanscale Office Chair Fall Sale Extra 15% Until 02 October 2011.

What's the deal?
Knoll, Steelcase & Humanscale are running their Fall Sale Special with a chance to grab an extra 15% off all their office chair ranges. The offer covers their office seating ranges offering a great opportunity to get outstanding prices on some quality ergonomic office seats.

How long does the offer last?
Steelcase and Knoll are running their offers until Sunday 2 October 2011, leaving you 10 days days to take advantage of these special prices. Humanscale’s sale runs a day longer finishing on Monday 3 October 2011.

Where can I find the details?
You can find a quick summary of the key points about the chairs on offer together with where to buy them using the links below:

Steelcase Chairs
Think chair
Amia chair
Leap chair

Knoll Seating
Generation chair
Life chair
Barcelona classic seating

Humanscale Chairs
Freedom chair
Liberty Chair
Freedom Saddle Seat

So, if you looking for a new office chair this is an excellent opportunity to lock in a great price. Don't wait too long though because there’s only 10 days left.

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The Trend Towards Self-Adjusting Office Chairs: Why They Don’t Work For Everyone

Have you ever taken your vehicle in for a service and when you went to collect it felt like you just got into the wrong car? What is it about auto mechanics that seems to make them want to set your seat up as though they were racing drivers? It takes ages to get everything back to how you had it, unless you are lucky enough to have a memory button to restore your personal settings.

Self-adjusting chairs are a bit like memory button auto seats because they know how you like to sit.

We’re going to check out these 3 aspects about self-adjusting office chairs:

  1. What exactly is a self-adjusting chair
  2. Who is best suited to a self-adjusting chair
  3. Who will find them to be awkward to use

 

Let’s begin by looking at what exactly a self-adjusting chair is
More and more manufacturers are building in automation to their office chair designs with the idea being that the user no longer has to worry about making endless adjustments to their seat.

Typically this sort of chair senses the user’s weight and movements and the chair’s mechanism moves to support you as you work. This is a good thing because it means that your body maintains a good posture due to the chair moving to support you properly.

Another feature which is becoming more common is the use of advanced polymers and plastics in the chair’s back. This allows the chair back to adapt a much greater level of movement without harsh frame components digging into your body.

Some adjustment will always be necessary like setting the seat height and arm position, however these are largely one off settings. So who will benefit most from these auto-adjusting products?

Who is best suited to a self-adjusting chair?
Most chair manufacturers like the easy life and so consequently design their products to suit the average built person. So what is deemed to be average build?

There are no hard and fast rules, however most use data compiled about members of the military as it is an easy way to categorize the shapes and sizes that people come in.

As a rough guide a self-adjusting chair is probably going to work best for people between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall and weighing between 100 and 200 pounds. What if you fall outside these averages?

Is there hope for those of us who are ‘non-average’?
These types of chairs can be something of a challenge for both short built and tall users.

Short built people may find the chair doesn’t move easily as they work in it, especially if they are light framed. Additionally the height adjustment of the seat may not go low enough to allow you to rest your feet properly on the floor. This latter point can be fixed by using an alternative gas lift if available.

Tall users may find the opposite where the chair just seems to move too easily, this will be particularly true for heavier built people. People with very long legs could also find the chair doesn't compensate enough for good leg comfort.

And even if you are of an average build there can still be problems. Many models don't have any form of override or fine-tuning adjustment. If you are the sort of person who likes to adjust things either make sure you look at models with some form of user fine-tuning or stick with a more conventional chair.

Here’s a mistake self-adjusting chair users often fall into
Because an auto-adjusting chair automatically gives you support as you work it’s easy to think you can just spend all day in it and assume it will give your body some magical healthy workout.

In many respects it’s little different to a good quality manually adjustable chair, it just saves you the hassle of tweaking loads of settings.

Consequently, it’s just as important as it always was to get out of your chair several times a day and break up your routine. Doing simple exercises and stretching your legs won’t go away and it’s still important to do both, lest you get lulled in to a false sense of security.

Summary

  • A self-adjusting chair automates many of the mundane adjustments on your chair
  • Average built people are the most likely to benefit from this type of seat
  • Short built and tall people may well find auto-adjusting chairs too inflexible

Here's where you can read more about some great self-adjusting chairs like the HÅG Futu, Humanscale Liberty and Knoll Generation they may well help you get closer to that memory button control found on some autos.

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How Technology Is Changing The Humble Office Chair: Crossing Bridges In Thinking

Sayl chair

Herman Miller Sayl Chair

What has San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge got to do with office chair design? More than you might think.

It was the inspiration for designer Yves Béhar when he came up with the concept for the suspension back for Herman Miller’s new Sayl chair, and applied similar principles to its unique back design.

It’s a great example of thinking out of the square.

But first, a little about old style office seat design.

  

How Office Chairs Used To Be Designed

Time was when a chair manufacturer thought about launching a new chair the same set of basic materials was used. In fact for a good number of manufacturers this is still the case.

You started with a 5 star base, added a gas lift, married it to a mechanism and connected it all to a seat pan, back and arms and the end result was a new chair.

Apart from maybe a new type of mechanism the changes were mostly cosmetic. Perhaps you used a sexier looking 5 star base, reshaped the back and seat a bit and maybe used a new range of upholstery to add appeal.

At the end of the day it wasn’t hugely different to what had gone before.

What Started The Change In Office Chair Design?

Probably the launch of the Aeron back in 1994 was what really shook the
market up.

Here was a radically different chair that didn’t have any foam padding and fabric upholstery, instead it had this open mesh known as the pellicle. Not only that it looked distinctly odd.

In fact, it was a major gamble by Herman Miller as initial soundings at the time were pretty negative.

Nonetheless, Miller kept its nerve and introduced it and the rest as they say is history. The Aeron has gone on to become one of the best selling and best known office chairs of all time and still sells well today.

Why This Started Alarm Bells Ringing

The Aeron effect brought about 2 fundamental changes in the office chair market. First, it contributed to the launch of many imitations and as a result mesh upholstered chairs can be found at all levels in the market. Second, it acted as a wake up call for others in the industry showing it was time for a radical rethink on new products if they didn't want to lose ground.

The Quality End Of The Market Has Become The Domain of Big Hitters

Creating chairs the old way wasn’t very difficult and the cash outlay for the most part was affordable.

Not anymore. Creating chairs the new way involves a huge outlay of time and money.
Take for instance the soon to be launched Sayl chair. In a recent article in the UK’s Independent Newspaper about the Sayl it drew attention to the 70 prototypes, 3 years of development and $13 million investment, a sum clearly beyond all but the big boys to invest in producing a single office chair range.

Clearly Miller expects big things and is prepared to take a long-term view. Little wonder quality office chairs cost what they do when you have this kind of outlay to recoup and this will be one of its lower priced chairs.

Chairs Are Being Made With Materials That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

These days major manufacturers are prepared to invest heavily in new seating products to come up with what they hope will be a world-beating product.

Top designers are taken on to develop radical new concepts, starting from scratch they come up with fresh ideas and possibilities which they then turn into reality.

Recent examples of these innovative designs include Knoll’s Generation Chair, Humanscale’s Liberty, Steelcase’s Think and a trio from Herman Miller in the Embody, Setu and Sayl.

How Has All This Innovation Helped End Users?

The development of new products like these represents a major improvement in seating comfort for office workers and has helped to:

• Enhance user comfort and give proper support throughout the day
• Simplify product use by automating certain functions
• Significantly reduce product weight making them easier to move and position
• Huge advances in environmentally friendly components and recyclability
• 10 year plus warranty giving confidence in the product’s quality
• Enhance styling and design while still maintaining functionality and ease of use

In a future post I’ll take a look at some of these amazing design ideas and how they have helped improve office sitting comfort.

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