Have a Seat …
President, Deisig Design — Berlin, Germany
Forty years ago, the workplace was almost a completely different place compared with what it is today. The corner office meant you were a rising star, and business deals were sealed with a strong, solid handshake. There weren’t laptops, Wi-Fi® or BlackBerry® smartphones. The most sophisticated piece of equipment in offices was the chair.
Yes, you read correctly — the chair.
At the end of the 1970s, most office chairs had a board in the seat and the back, which were connected by a rod. The adjustments weren’t ergonomically correct and were so complicated that you practically needed a driver’s license to operate them. The chairs had so many levers, knobs and mechanisms that many of the features weren’t even used because they were so complex.
| Ignition™ by HON®
When I designed my first task chair, my goal was to make it ergonomically and functionally simple — after all, we don’t want to have to think about our chairs, we just want to sit comfortably in them.
Our studio created a flexible plastic shell with a one-piece design that imitated the motions of the human body. My first chair pushed the limits for seating materials and introduced plastic into office furniture for the first time. The chair also was one of the first to support users in both the work position as well as a reclined position. This simple function had never been possible before — it was the introduction of the synchronized tilt mechanism.
Today, while the way we work has changed dramatically, we still want one key feature from our office chairs — comfort. As our team continues to create new designs, our primary challenge is to develop seating solutions that fit not only how you work, but also who you are and where you work. Because we need to create a chair that’s just as comfortable for the 5th percentile woman as the 95th percentile man — and everyone in between.
We recently developed a unique line for The HON Company — a collection that provides one comprehensive seating solution for virtually every office need. Ignition™ offers an exceptional breadth of function to support a wide range of users and work environments, while still offering a sleek profile and clean, contemporary design. And because everyone’s job is just a little bit different, Ignition supports any application — from quick collaboration to long periods of computer use — by enabling users to match adjustment features to work tasks.
What does the future hold for workplace design? It’s hard to tell, but I think technology will continue to be a heavy influence in the workplace to allow us to move even more freely in our work environments. I expect we’ll find ourselves moving even farther away from the traditional workplace environment.
And at the heart of it all will be the most important — and personal — piece of office equipment. Because designing an efficient and productive office doesn’t start with simply a floor and four walls. It begins with a better chair.