Environment

Full marks for desk and chair in new sustainability and design accolade

Full marks for desk and chair ...
The first two full Living Product Challenge certifications have been awarded to Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table
The first two full Living Product Challenge certifications have been awarded to Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table
View 10 Images
The first two full Living Product Challenge certifications have been awarded to Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table
1/10
The first two full Living Product Challenge certifications have been awarded to Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table
The Diffrient Smart chair is designed to provide lumbar support and for ease-of-use
2/10
The Diffrient Smart chair is designed to provide lumbar support and for ease-of-use
Humanscale eliminated the toxic perfluorinated compounds from the Diffrient Smart chair, which are often found in office chair fabrics
3/10
Humanscale eliminated the toxic perfluorinated compounds from the Diffrient Smart chair, which are often found in office chair fabrics
The Float can be easily adjusted for use sitting or standing using a small lever
4/10
The Float can be easily adjusted for use sitting or standing using a small lever
Humanscale has eliminated PVC from the Float table
5/10
Humanscale has eliminated PVC from the Float table
Humanscale is seeking to optimize the other materials used for the manufacture of the Float table
6/10
Humanscale is seeking to optimize the other materials used for the manufacture of the Float table
Humanscale's Float table is a sit/stand desk
7/10
Humanscale's Float table is a sit/stand desk
Petal certification for Water and Materials has been awarded to Bureo for its Net+Positiva Plastic, which is plastic resin and pellets made from recycled fishing nets and has been used to make skateboards
8/10
Petal certification for Water and Materials has been awarded to Bureo for its Net+Positiva Plastic, which is plastic resin and pellets made from recycled fishing nets and has been used to make skateboards
Petal certification for Water and Materials has been awarded to the Garden Tower Project's composting Garden Tower, which allows users to grow a large variety of food in a very small space
9/10
Petal certification for Water and Materials has been awarded to the Garden Tower Project's composting Garden Tower, which allows users to grow a large variety of food in a very small space
Imperative certification has been awarded to Owens Corning for its EcoTouch unfaced fiberglass residential and commercial insulation
10/10
Imperative certification has been awarded to Owens Corning for its EcoTouch unfaced fiberglass residential and commercial insulation
View gallery - 10 images

The International Living Futures Institute (ILFI) has awarded the first full certifications for its Living Product Challenge standard to a desk chair and a sit/stand desk. The scheme recognizes products that are sustainably produced, improve our quality of life, are beautifully designed and functional.

The Living Product Challenge, launched last year, is aimed at encouraging organizations to create products that "function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world" and that don't just limit the harm they may do, but have a holistically beneficial effect on the world. The ILFI also runs the Living Building Challenge, which is regarded as one of the most stringent standards for building sustainability and that counts among its awardees the Bullitt Center and the Phipps' Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

Like the Living Building Challenge, the Living Product Challenge has 20 measures (or "Imperatives") split across the seven categories (or "Petals") of Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. All the measures must be met for full Living Product certification, but the ILFI will also partially certify products for achieving individual Petals or Imperatives.

The two full certifications, awarded at the second annual Living Product Expo, went to ergonomic design firm Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table. Both achieved each of the 20 imperatives required for full certification, with net positive water and energy manufacturing contributing to their awards.

Humanscale eliminated the toxic perfluorinated compounds from the Diffrient Smart chair, which are often found in office chair fabrics
Humanscale eliminated the toxic perfluorinated compounds from the Diffrient Smart chair, which are often found in office chair fabrics

The chair, which is said to have required a significant redesign in order to achieve full certification, is designed to provide lumbar support and for ease-of-use. Among the contributions to its certification was Humanscale's elimination of the toxic perfluorinated compounds that are often found in office chair fabrics.

The Float table, meanwhile, is a sit/stand desk that can be easily adjusted using a small lever. Humanscale has eliminated PVC from the product and is seeking to optimize the other materials used for its manufacture.

Humanscale's Float table is a sit/stand desk
Humanscale's Float table is a sit/stand desk

Also at the expo, three other products were certified for Petals or Imperatives. Petal certification for Water and Materials was awarded to the Garden Tower Project's composting Garden Tower, which allows users to grow a large variety of food in a very small space. The same Petals were awarded to Bureo for its Net+Positiva Plastic, which is plastic resin and pellets made from recycled fishing nets.

Finally, Imperative certification was awarded to Owens Corning for its EcoTouch unfaced fiberglass residential and commercial insulation. The Imperative recognizes the company's long-term commitment to sustainability, with the product certified to be 65 percent recycled and formaldehyde free.

The Living Product Expo ran from September 13-15.

Sources: International Living Future Institute, Humanscale

View gallery - 10 images
2 comments
ConstanceClare
I appreciate that the chair is manufactured without toxic chemicals, but it is hard to believe that the same old design with "lumbar back support" is actually winning an award. It is certainly a handsome version of the same old design, but just that. A chair that would work most efficiently for the human body would not have a concave seat, but a flat, firm seat that when sitting on it, a person can feel their sit bones, and not be encouraged to roll back onto the coccyx. A chair that worked with the human body would have a more supportive back (not just a big lumbar curve which would only work for a large man). A tall, straighter back chair allows a person to receive support all up and down their back. The human spine is designed to balance easily upright with 3 gentle curves—no need to push on those curves. Another function that a chair could work with the human body sitting, is to encourage a little bit of movement (active sitting.) When will the design world work with people who specialize in humans!?
Jim Lawrence
The sit/stand desk looks very much like a bargain-basement, but good-quality product from Autonomous AI. they sell their motorized desk units for $250, free shipping. I have two. I wonder how much this award winner, which looks to be smaller but seems to be the same outer/inner leg motorized concept, costs? And who stole from who, hmmm?