We should all apologize to Nikil Saval, author of Cubed: The Secret History of the Work Place. We design buffs, I mean, because this book is all about design history, sociology, economics and psychology. It should be a best seller, if we lived up to what they claim to be our design values. The history of the office, from Bartelby and Scrooge to Office Space is a rich terrain. And was the Aeron chair really adapted from a chair designed for nursing homes?
Revolutions in office technology produce revolutions in office furniture design. The typing pool gave way to the cube farm which in turn gave way to open “team” table. The Aeron chair famously became the symbol of Silicon Valley in the dot com boom.
Now the rise of mobile phones and pads as dominant work tools has inspired Steelcase to reinvent the office chair. Based on what Steelcase design chief James Ludwig said were surveys of the habits of 2000 people in eleven countries around the world, the company will offer the Gesture chair beginning this fall. It will be shown at Neocon in June.
Steelcase looked at what Ludwig called the new environment of the office, where people work and sit more casually. The researchers talking to workers defined nine distinct new postures, such as the “swipe.” These postures conditioned the design of the new chair, with such innovations as arms that move up and down easily. The back and seat move more flexibly together; the chair, Steelcase says, encourages people to move around every so often.
[ steelcase ]
<a href="about phil patton