What is ergonomics? Aside from having a scientific ring to it, this word carries
increasing meaning for the office-bound being. Ergonomics is the study of
designing equipment to fit the shape and needs of the body. For a perfect
example of this budding discipline, take a look around the dentist’s office
during your next check-up.
Every single element, from the chair to the
overhead lighting, has been designed to best suit the needs of the practitioner.
The way the pieces work in concert so perfectly is the calling card of
This is the core of American design house Humanscale’s
philosophy. For nearly 30 years, the engineers and designers of Humanscale have
tackled problems that hinder efficiency in the office. Their products are clean,
elegant and environmentally conscious.
“Our goal is to make companies
more successful by making their people more successful,” explains Shane
Cohen, Humanscale’s local development consultant.
sell products, we sell solutions,” says Cohen, whose enthusiasm for Humanscale’s
work is apparent.
Robert King founded the company in 1983. Recognizing
the rise of headaches associated with prolonged computer use, King’s first quest
was to invent a no-glare computer screen. From there, the list of office items
that needed tweaking grew and grew.
The three main areas that Humanscale
focuses on are lighting, seating and air purification. As Cohen explains,
improving these three arenas has a dramatic effect on the productivity level in
Humanscale recently celebrated the sale of the one millionth
Freedom chair, designed by ergonomics pioneer Niels Diffrient. This chair, which
put Humanscale forever on the design map, has become a classic for both the
company and the furniture world.
As an offshoot of its green philosophy,
Humanscale also makes a lovely reusable bottle to help offices cut back on
plastic and cans. “It’s part of bringing professional equipment into the
workplace,” says Cohen. The company’s client list includes Intel, Apple and
Adobe. It also makes excellent furnishings for the home office.
Humanscale’s most recent developments is a partnership with Waxman Office
Furniture. For years, Waxman has sold innovatively designed chairs for the
office and auditorium.
The work of Waxman can be found at Habimah
Theater, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and cinematheques throughout
“I have a great love of the body. That love is at the heart of
Waxman,” explains Michal Waxman, CEO of the 40-yearold family business. “One of
the first things that anyone who knows about the body will tell you is that
sitting is the worst position for the body.
With our technological
advances, we end up sitting for hours on end every day, which makes our bodies
stiff and tight. It was natural for us to work with Humanscale because we have
Hand in hand with its new partner, Waxman has
developed a local campaign featuring famed choreographer Ohad Naharin sitting on
a classic Humanscale chair.
“I used to be a dancer,” says Waxman, gazing
at the photos of her new spokesman. “Ohad is a symbol of health, but he had a
very serious injury once.
His orthopedist told him not to sit. When we
asked him to try the chair he, told us simply that the chair was right for his
Finding synergy between Humanscale and the other brands Waxman
distributes, the store now offers complete office furnishing that combine Humanscale solutions
with furniture by Portuguese brand Famo.
With a focus set on function as
opposed to fashion, Humanscale’s items are much less decorative than those of
their competitors. For example, the textiles used for its line of chairs may not
look fancy at first, but it is top-of-the-line mesh is developed specifically to
cradle every vertebra. The same is true for all Humanscale products. Though they
don’t shout chic, at second glance the amount of effort, thought and skill that
went into choosing each knob, light bulb or switch is apparent. “The wow factor
here is in the modesty, in the feeling of sitting on the chair,” beams
Be it their desktop lighting, seating or adjustable monitor arms,
Humanscale designs are all about sending an office worker home without
head/back/wrist aches. “We know that comfortable people do better work. Our
mission is to perform,” says Cohen. “None of our products are beautiful, but
they are like the Golden Gate Bridge. Timeless design can be
Naturally, Humanscale solutions cost a pretty penny. And in
today’s market, where the only thing that is not disposable is cash, selling an
expensive, albeit brilliant, product can be a challenge. Office chairs range
from NIS 2,500 to around NIS 5,000. However, both Cohen and Waxman seem
extremely confident about Humanscale’s potential in Israel. “It’s a perfect fit
for Israel. There are so many hitech companies here. Of course, price is an
issue,” says Cohen. “But this is about price versus long-term value. Companies
that take care of their staff care about ergonomics.”
“Nobody likes to
spend money,” adds Waxman. “But a good chair is like a good pair of shoes. These
days, we do everything with the computer, and that means that a good chair is
Every Humanscale chair, of which there are currently four
varieties on sale at Waxman, comes with a 15-year warranty.
guarantee says it all,” asserts Waxman. “These days, nothing comes with more
than one-, two- or three-year warranty.
This is a chair that will stay
with you for a big part of your life.”For more information about Humanscale products at Waxman, visit
The Waxman showroom and store is located at 22 Halehi
Street, Bnei Brak.