Humanscale’s Current ‘Path’ to Sustainability & the Way Forward

‘If only contributing to the planet was as easy as sitting in a chair.’ Well, now it is. With ergonomics-focused brand Humanscale taking upon themselves to set an industry standard for sustainability, dreams can now be reality. Read on to discover how the ‘Path’ to positive climate impact is as comfortable as gorgeous…

How many times do you get the opportunity to improve climatic conditions during work hours, that too by just sitting in a chair ? Humanscale’s portfolio, especially the newest addition, Path, will help you pacify the guilt of directly or indirectly contributing to marine pollution. Office furniture manufacturer Humanscale has been a brand synonymous with ergonomics for a long time. They are also talked about in the same breath for their sustainability credentials, and for good reason. 

Since its inception in 1983, the brand has aimed to provide solutions for the workplace and promote employee well-being. Best known for producing the likes of the Freedom and Diffrient chairs that encourage movement and intuitiveness in design, Humanscale understands the importance of adaptability the most. With shifting times, visions must re-align to maintain an upward graph and relevance in the industry. The brand harbours an ambitious vision – to champion sustainability and be a paragon of the climate-positive manufacturing cycle. 

Humanscale CEO, Bob King with the Freedom Chair. Image Courtesy: Architectural Digest

“We’ve gone beyond the point where it’s acceptable for manufacturers to do less bad or sustain the status quo. The climate crises we face demand revolutionary action on a large scale and require all of us to think beyond sustainability. That’s why we aren’t waiting for our peers to chart the path forward.”
Bob King, CEO, Humanscale

Path – The Most Sustainable Task Chair in the World

The latest addition to the ‘Ocean’ chair series, Path, has been a step in Humanscale’s direction to exemplify sustainability. In a nutshell, the Ocean series centres around the use of reclaimed ocean plastic, specifically targeting fishing nets, which pose a severe threat to marine ecosystems. The first two chairs in the series – Smart Ocean and Liberty Ocean – incorporate approximately 0.9 kilograms of repurposed fishing nets. At the same time, the trailblazing successor, Path, set a new benchmark by utilising nearly 10 kilograms of recycled materials, including fishing nets.

Path is also Free of Red List Chemicals, substances known to be detrimental to human and environmental well-being. Hence, it is hardly surprising that Path has triumphed over the industry’s most rigorous and extensive testing to become ‘climate positive’ – this signifies that with each production of a Path chair, the planet experiences a tangible improvement.

“Path is not simply an exercise in aesthetics or an assembly of pre-existing components; rather, it is a ground-up mechanical invention, material innovation, coupled with next-level sustainability.”
Todd Bracher, Designer for Path & Creative Director and long-time Design Partner for Humanscale

But this wouldn’t be the first time Humanscale has outdone itself; it is worth honouring that they were also the first to inculcate Declare Label in the industry – unabashedly baring the list of contributing materials in its products. In 2022, 26 of Humanscale’s products were certified ‘climate positive’; the products in question form over 70% of the brand’s sales. 

Regarding which, Frazer Butcher, Regional Director, MENA at Humanscale comments, “We had the first products in the world that go beyond neutral. Becoming net positive means relooking our operations to calculate our products’ entire footprint. This includes a full cycle assessment model, which is built to incorporate impacts in every step of the manufacturing process, such as extraction of raw materials, processing, transportation, transformation and assembly. This way, we take full responsibility for everything in the supply chain. We are proud to be the first company ever to offer any product – let alone 26 – certified positive climate, energy and water positive. We aim to continually add to this and ultimately for any new design to be climate positive.”

Neither Snoozing on Sustainability Nor Skimping on Ergonomics

True to its roots, the brand maintains its unwavering focus on ergonomic comfort and viability. With the Freedom and Liberty chairs, which have set a ‘gold standard of seating’, Humanscale continues to innovate relentlessly to keep its crown. Even with Path, patented technologies like FormSense Eco Knit™ and Gravity Mechanism™ intend to ease usability and provide the utmost comfort.

The FormSense Eco Knit™ is a revolutionary 3D knit textile made exclusively for the Path chair. Crafted using approximately 68 plastic bottles per chair, this fabric’s mesh-like structure conforms to the user’s body, ensuring intuitive lumbar support.

In tandem with the Gravity Mechanism™, Path’s mechanism instantly engages when a user takes a seat. Utilising the individual’s body weight as a counterbalance, the chair creates virtual pivot points, effortlessly supporting the user’s movements with exceptional ease and stability. This intelligent design eliminates the need for cumbersome knobs and levers, offering a seamless and hassle-free adjustment experience. Comfort delivered in a flash!

Path’s inviting versatility extends to its aesthetics as well. The soft, rounded silhouette of the chair responds to the ever-changing landscapes of contemporary work environments. It emanates simplicity and grace and fits well in all workspace settings – corporate offices, design studios or even homely work nooks. “With the full suite of textiles, chrome-free leathers, and bases and arms all being completely customisable, Humanscale has simplified forging your very own Path from the ground up – tailored precisely to a customer’s preferences and requirements,” iterates Frazer.

Related Articles