Diffrient World

Manufacturer Spotlight: Humanscale

Manufacturer Spotlight: Humanscale

Opus4, through our furniture division, Hunters North, is one of the Manchester’s major dealers of Humanscale ergonomic office solutions and supplies their award winning products throughout the UK. Humanscale was founded in 1983 and built up a reputation for designing innovative products which made life easier for the office worker. The company made giant strides forward in 1999, when it entered the task chair market with the launch of the game-changing Freedom chair. Since then, they’ve continued to push the envelope with innovate designs which combine functionality with aesthetic beauty. Here, we showcase some of their best products, including brand new designs which are set to transform the way we work.


When it was launched in 1999, the Freedom task chair was revolutionary in its design. Sixteen years later, the chair still looks ahead of its time and is still regarded as Humanscale’s flagship seating product, scooping ten prestigious design awards along the way. But what was it that made the Freedom so revolutionary? The chair features a weight-sensitive recline – suitable for any user regardless of size or weight, the mechanism adjusts the tension to suit each person. They then took the somewhat brave step of having no back-lock – effectively forcing the user to remain active as they sat.

Ergonomists had long-held the view that encouraging movement as we sit was good practice, but most seating manufacturers knew from their research that users would eventually reach to lock off the recliner and keep the seat in a fixed position. Unwilling to affect their sales, a back-lock was almost always left on a chair to give the user the choice. Humanscale was the first manufacturer to stay true to its ergonomic roots by taking the choice away from the user. There was no need to worry about sales. By 2009 – just ten years after its launch – the Freedom had sold more than a million units worldwide and helped to position Humanscale as one of the three global leading manufacturers of high performance task chairs.

Diffrient World

Never could a play on words be so apt than with Diffrient World. The chair bears the name of its creator, Niels Diffrient, who continues his long association with Humanscale, forging a partnership at the forefront of ergonomic excellence. The chair does indeed herald a different world for the user. Whilst an all-mesh chair is nothing new, the tri-panel, non-stretch mesh, is unlike any other, automatically sculpting to the contours of the body, whilst providing ultimate breathability.

What really sets the Diffrient World apart from the competition is the mechanism – the very heart of any high quality, ergonomic task chair. There isn’t one. Instead, you get an automatic counter-balance recline action, which perfectly supports the weight of each user. No mechanism means less weight, fewer moving parts and a product with exceptionally strong environmental credentials.

L6 Notebook Manager

As we all start to work more flexibly, many people are moving away from static hard drive PCs and using laptops or tablet PCs. There’s no hiding their portability of these devices, but when you get back to the office, a laptop is an ergonomist’s worst nightmare. Users tend to hunch their back over the desk, due to laptop screen being much lower than eye level. As a result, the back is never in contact with the chair, causing a slow, but constant strain on the back, neck strain, and computer vision syndrome.

The L6 Notebook Manager solves this problem by elevating the laptop screen to eye level. By switching to a separate keyboard, it enables the user to sit back in the correct position, reclining freely with the back in constant contact with the chair and vastly improving posture.

M8 Crossbar

Humanscale has an exciting range of monitor arms which stay true to their philosophy that ‘the best designs are based on purpose and function’. Their flagship product is the M8 Crossbar.

More workers are benefiting from using a dual screen solution at work. In most cases, one screen will be used for emails and messaging, freeing up a second screen for core work, running programs such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, SagePay, or CRM software. Humanscale’s M8 monitor arm with crossbar, is the perfect dual screen solution. Supporting monitors each weighing up to 9 kilos, the crossbar features a ‘fine-tune adjustor’, enabling perfect alignment and a smooth aesthetic.

Quick Stand

Humanscale has always been a pioneer of a healthier, active workspace. By removing the back-lock option from their task chairs, users were encouraged to move freely, without the temptation of fixing the back in one position. The Quick Stand, one of the latest additions to the Humanscale range, takes this philosophy to the next level. An innovative product which takes the best parts of a height adjustable desk and a monitor arm, the Quickstand gives the user the flexibility to sit or stand at their workstation, allowing the desk surface to remain at its usual fixed level. The Quick Stand clamps to the rear of a desk surface like a typical monitor arm. An integral VESA plate allows you to fit a single or dual monitor and an adjustable platform holds the keyboard and mouse. As with all Humanscale products, function and purpose is combined with beautiful design aesthetics. The chunky Quick Stand stem neatly houses all cable management. In the raised ‘stand’ position, the fixed desk is clear, leaving plenty of space on either side of the raided platform. In the lowered ‘sit’ position, Quick Stand looks like any other office desk.

The modern workplace, as defined by the technology we use, is rapidly evolving. As commercial property prices continue to rise, and with the herald of a new, mobile workplace, the challenge is to maximise the number of people in a minimal amount of space. Employers are having to invest in better, creative workspaces to keep their staff engaged, effective and motivated. Wellbeing has become a major part of this, with sit-stand desking solutions forecast to become a major feature in progressive offices.

This is just a brief selection from Humanscale’s niche range of ergonomic office products. To find out more, visit our dedicated site: Hunters North online.

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