In Review… Interstuhl’s PUREis3

When we first spotted the PUREis3 at Orgatec 2018, we just knew that this would be the chair to beat in the agile workspace world. We finally got a chance to review this beautiful piece of German Design at the Interstuhl showroom, one rainy Dubai morning. Joining us were seasoned designers Tia Lindqvist from GAJ, and Tania König from Cambridge Design, who were equally impressed by its simplicity and engineering excellence. In fact, Tania decided to spec their offices with it that very same day!

Meet PUREis3, the chair that promotes Active Sitting

The manufacturers of the Silver Chair have now set their sights on a new target – to bring back free movement and active engagement to task chair seating. Interstuhl’s latest task chair, PUREis3, reflects this both in its design and engineering, with features that require little to no adjustment, all the while ensuring that the user is constantly in motion. Engineer Joachim Brüske and Founder Andreas Krob of Swiss design agency, b4k, created this chair with one goal – to make a product that was intuitive, dynamic and active.

Over coffee and muffins, Oliver Nathmann, Sales Manager, Interstuhl, took us on a journey into the development of PUREis3. “It took six years in the making, with Interstuhl wanting to ensure the chair was built to handle its purpose. We wanted to guarantee a seating experience like no other.”

The Review Crew

Above from left: Tia Lindqvist, Senior Interior Designer at Godwin Austen Johnson, Oliver Nathmann, Sales Manager at Interstuhl and Tania König, Design Manager at  Cambridge Commercial Design + Build

First Impression

PUREis3 stays true to the Interstuhl design ethos, sporting a clean elegant look that focuses on functionality. Its simplicity belies the level of functionality and comfort that it can deliver, thanks to its technology and innovative materials. The chair’s clean cut design focuses on the Smart Spring – the innovative engineered heart of the chair that delivers its uniqueness. It allows a 3D range of movement within a large radius, a feat yet unavailable in other chairs.

The seating comfort is excellent and, true to its promise, there is no need for adjustment except for the height. It also adapts to a wide range of body weights and types.

Tania: The design is subtle, versatile and could fit in any setting. I like that about a task chair, it makes things so much easier. The design is understated, and you can’t tell what it does until you try it, but once you do, it completely changes the seating experience you’re used to.

Tia: I love how the PUREis3 is so clean design-wise, and yet so functional. The degree of movement is incredible! I never knew I could do that, and I never bothered trying as well. This is a subtle, yet a critical differentiator from other chairs.

PURE Awesomeness

The PUREis3’s core component is the “Smart Spring”– made out of a specially developed polyamide fiber that has been six years in the making. It enables the chair to dynamically adjust to the user’s body, weight, and movement. The Smart Spring supports movements in radii that can’t even be imagined on other chairs, and is what seems to guide the chair’s aesthetic. The movement is very three dimensional, heading into directions that go beyond what we are accustomed to.

“We want the chair to support a wide range of users, petite and large,” says Oliver. “We want users to get more active, and we intend for the chair to do a great job in encouraging that”.

The PUREis3 contains no complicated or heavy mechanism that forces users to make adjustments that are rarely accurate or tailored.  We found the chair’s operation to be relatively intuitive, with a simple hand movement at the bottom to change the height. According to Oliver, the user is never forced into an uncomfortable sitting position. “The healthy postures it promotes prevents blockages in blood flow and encourages circulation. This is very important and often forgotten in today’s sedentary lifestyle”.

He also informs us that the PUREis3 does not come with a family of visitor chairs or similar, which interestingly enough, is a clear shift in mindset towards modern workspace design – less visual hierarchy displayed through furniture.  

Active and Agile

With the current shift to more agile offices with collaborative spaces and multifunctional areas that also offer hot desking capabilities, the PUREis3’s flexibility fits right in. The chair is surprisingly light, thanks to the innovative materials used in its construction eliminating the need for heavy mechanisms, and can be moved from one desk space to another, or another room entirely, with barely any effort. Furthermore, the lack of any adjustment means that it is always ready for use, allowing it to adapt to multiple work scenarios in the modern workspace. The Smart Spring technology encourages active sitting, allowing the user to react to the chair intuitively.

Interstuhl takes the seating experience to a whole new level with the addition of a digital component. Active Sitting is further supported by an innovative S 4.0 sensor placed under the seat pad, giving real-time feedback to the user. Developed in collaboration with Garmin, it analyses usage patterns and improves posture though customised recommendations and prompts.

The sensor is optional and is fitted to the PUREis3 using a simple handle. Given the need for the current generation of workers to stay connected and digital, the feedback via the app is ideal and keeps users moving when needed. This we found very cool, and possibly a bit intrusive. As Tia mentioned, would she want a chair telling her what to do?

Tia: At first, I thought it’s going to be really annoying to be constantly reminded what to do by a chair – but given that we already use gadgets like Fitbit, it’s perhaps not such a bad idea. It’s also a nod to more wellness related themes in furniture.

Tania: It’s like nothing I’ve tried before. The chair supports you from nearly every sitting angle. And the addition of the sensor and feedback makes sense given the current, digital-first generation of office workers.

Simple, Subtle, Sustainable

PUREis3’s clean cut lines place emphasis on the back and inner workings of the chair. It sports a distinctly curved spine that is a slight departure from its overall modern and minimal aesthetic. The look is light and makes a statement with its functional design. And a range of fabrics and mesh, as well as a white and black frame option, nevertheless retain the lightness.

Interstuhl’s lovely, large size swatches in a wide range of colour options are worthy of a mention as they greatly increase the ease and convenience of choosing materials for designers.

A massive value-add to the product is its sustainability aspect. At its end of life, 98 percent of materials involved in producing the chair can be recycled. An incredible feat and a huge commitment to sustainable practices.

Tania: I appreciate how the chair’s design clearly communicates the intent. I love the finer details – the soft curves in the back mixed with linear features. It’s look is modern, yet can fit in most office types. I do prefer the mesh as it has a nice lightness to it. The range of fabric customisations help with tailoring the look to a certain theme and environment.

Tia: It does have a certain engineered look, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less aesthetically pleasing. In face, the engineering is what defines the look, especially given how the back resembles a spine, which is a nod to the increased range of movement and postures allowed. It’s not overly funky and overdone, which is what I personally like. I’m certainly impressed by the amount of research that has gone into it.

Above: Oliver shows the designers the multiple fabric options available for the PUREis3

Final Thoughts

The Smart Spring technology and the range of movement and support that the PUREis3 offers, puts it in a league of its own, which other task chairs of the same genre will need to aspire to. Technology is merging into interior and furniture design on a massive and macro level, and wellness is also intrinsically linked to it. In that respect, this chair more than ticks all the boxes, and fits beautifully into the shift towards resimmercial design and agile workspaces.

That aside, there will always be a need for chairs that allow for deeper adjustments, particularly for the executive offices and boardrooms. So while the PUREis3 is not here to replace all chairs, it certainly will carve its niche in the agile workplace.

On discussing the price point, Oliver tells us, “It was a tough call. We didn’t want to compromise on the materials and mechanism, yet we didn’t want to price the chair at a level that discourages people from trying it.”

Although the PUREis3 does sit on a slightly above average price point than most task chairs, it is left to be seen whether its functionality is appreciated more than its aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, you only need 100 chairs to be able to add in special customisations, which is a pretty generous offer, given the scale of contract furniture manufacturing and commercial projects. Add to that, the sustainability and eco-friendly value, it won’t be long before the PUREis3 starts winning the hearts of users of collaborative and agile workspaces.

Tania: From a project perspective, the fact that the minimum quantity required to be able to customise is just 100 chairs is very appealing, plus the fact that they have a wide range of fabrics and mesh, and two different finishes. Despite not having a family, it’s definitely worth investing in for open office spaces and their sustainability element. The flexibility and functionality justify the price point. You pay X, and get a return of 1.5X

Tia: The versatility of the chair’s options is impressive. You can really play with the colours, but I still like how they’ve gone with the classics for the arms and base. It’s got a light look, perfect for those modern workspaces. The pricing is definitely on the higher side, but if you consider the features and sustainable angle, it’s worth the investment.

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