After the development of the Liberty Chair and the Diffrient World Chair, designer Niels Diffrient set about working on a design for a simple task chair that met Humanscale’s goals in terms of both comfort and ease of use. That led him to the use of the chair’s use of the horseshoe design. The result is a chair with automatically adjusting lumbar support and a lightweight design, one that works just as well in an executive office as in a conference room.
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Design Goals For Diffrient Smart
Mr. Diffrient’s stated goal in developing the Smart chair was to create a visually striking but comfortable and adjustable ergonomic chair, one that fit in with any environment. Part of making a chair that was as visually striking as it was comfortable to use meant having points of adjustment that worked comfortably for the user. The horseshoe shape allows for that in a very elegant and serviceable way, by using the same design principles that govern Humanscale’s other products: Automatic adjustment that responds to each user’s weight to provide maximum comfort and support.
Diffrient Smart’s Central Features
Several different features come together to create the effect achieved by Humanscale chairs, and the Diffrient Smart Chair is no exception. The chair features Humanscale’s sensitive mesh back. Its tri-panel design makes it responsive to the shape of each individual user who takes a seat, providing just the right amount of give and then resistance. Adding to that is the weight-sensitive, mechanism-free recline, which uses basic physical concepts to create an automatic recline that stops at just the right spot for each individual user. The two features, when put together, spell out exceptional back support and comfort with no manual adjustments at all.
That combination of features is what makes the horseshoe shape of the Smart Chair so powerful. The shape provides part of the balance the automatic recline needs while also acting as the point of articulation for the arm’s automatic adjustments. The result is the easiest to use, most adaptable chair to be designed to date.
Diffrient Smart Measurements
With an absolute height of 40 to 44 inches, depending on the height adjustment, the chair measures up respectably to other executive task chairs and conference room designs. It’s higher back ensures full support for users of all heights, not just lumbar support, and its 18 and a half inch interior seat measurement provides comfortable but not excessively luxurious seating that has a striking visual profile but a sleek room footprint.
Customizable and Fit for Any Environment
In addition to the Diffrient Smart Chair’s design lines, its automatic adjustment means that there is no need for the clutter created by manual controls. This elevates its already sleek footprint, providing the sharp aesthetic so many executives crave alongside the comfort and ease of use that they really need. Both its upholstery and its mesh fabric back are available in a variety of fabric colors and designs as
well, making it an easy fit for any environment. When used as conference seating, this ability to match your other color choices provides a level of institutional branding that is hard to achieve with other top-tier chair designs. As the central task chair for an office, this customizability ensures that the chair looks as natural behind your desk as it does anyplace else.
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Niels Diffrient Design Progression
The Diffrient Smart Chair represents the final completed design that Niels Diffrient presented before passing away in 2013, just a year after receiving the Lifetime Contribution to Design Award at the FX International Interior Design Awards. Diffrient’s chair designs represent a linear progression of innovations that each reached forward to further Diffrient’s understanding of ergonomics, comfort, and human health. By pushing each new project to make its adjustments more automatically, based on the user’s own physical presence, he was able to bring together known concepts and new ones in ways that left a striking impression on their users.
The Smart Chair demonstrates this in its adaptation of earlier Humanscale technologies, such as the tri-panel mesh back, and new innovations designed to make the Diffrient Smart Chair accessible to an even wider audience while also making it noticeably more comfortable and easier to use than earlier designs.
The Humanscale Difference
The Diffrient Smart Chair does what so many of Humanscale’s products have done over the years. It presents a vision of what office furniture can do to achieve a universal comfort and functionality that forces a new way of thinking about how office furniture works in our workplaces.
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