Niels Diffrient Freedom Chair

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Freedom Headrest chair by Niels Diffrient for Humanscale Dezeen staff 14 July 2020 Dezeen Showroom: the Freedom Headrest was developed by the late American industrial designer Niels Diffrient for. A true design icon, the Freedom chair proves that ergonomics can be beautiful. Created by Niels Diffrient, Freedom automatically adjusts to every user. Designed to eliminate the need for manual controls, it features a sophisticated weight-sensitive, self-locking recline mechanism.

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  • Diffrient was also recognized as a Royal Designer for Industry (Hon RDI) by the British Royal Society of Arts in 1987. His vast industrial design portfolio included work with AT & T, Honeywell, John Deere, Knoll and American Airlines. His partnership with Humanscale began in 1998, with the development of the Freedom chair.
  • Niels Diffrient was an American industrial designer. Diffrient focused mainly on ergonomic seating, and his most well known designs are the Freedom and Liberty chairs, manufactured by Humanscale.
  • Niels Diffrient, Designer Eager to create a truly ergonomic task chair that adjusted to the user automatically, Niels Diffrient created Freedom, which allows the sitter to change postures effortlessly. Replacing the traditional recline mechanism with a weight-sensitive one, Diffrient’s Freedom task chair revolutionized the way people sit.
Design legend Niels Diffrient is the creator of the Freedom Chair, a radical rethink of the way we sit today. Throughout his career, he's been a pioneer of ergonomic design — studying the human body (in all its shapes and sizes) and how to make it comfortable.

Why you should listen

Niels Diffrient is a pioneer of ergonomic design -- taking the radical approach of examining the human body as it interacts with furniture, and asking, Is there a better way to sit? His three-volume reference work, Humanscale,explores the relationship of spine to chair and other 'human engineering' data necessary for highly specialized workplaces such as a cockpit or a truck cab, as well as aiding in the search for the perfectly comfortable place to sit down.

In the 1990s, Diffrient turned his attention to the office task chair. Working with the company Humanscale, he drew up the Freedom chair, a self-adjusting chair that mixed advanced materials (such as a gel seat pad) with good old-fashioned sketchbook design. The Freedom chair was part of a late-'90s revolution in design that turned expensive ergonomic office chairs into dot-com covetables. In 2004, Diffrient and Humanscale released the lighter and lower-priced Liberty task chair.

What others say

Humanscale Diffrient Chair

Humanscale diffrient

“Back in 1955, Diffrient (now a hale and hearty 71) was one of the first guys to x-ray a human spine in a chair, discovering and documenting what chairs do to people in real life. Before that, he reminisces when we meet, 'We knew nothing, except what you'd see from a skeleton.' Skeletons don't purchase much office seating.” — Bruce Sterling, Wired

Niels Diffrient’s TED talk

Niels Diffrient

Rethinking the way we sit down

Described by The New York Times as “the gold standard in office seating,” the Freedom chair redefines the concept of traditional task chairs. Designer Niels Diffrient aimed to design an office chair that automatically adapts to the user, allowing them to move freely from posture to posture. Diffrient’s unique approach removed complexities found in other chairs, such as cumbersome recline levers and back tension dials for a truly ergonomic task chair. As a result, he developed a recline mechanism that perfectly adjusts to the user, definitively reinventing modern task seating to be truly simple, functional and beautiful.

With innovative recline that provides constant support and a pivoting backrest that automatically adjusts to the needs of the spine, the Freedom chair is exceptionally comfortable and promotes movement throughout the day. Its refined and sculpted cushions were designed to mimic the body’s natural contours and decrease pressure point loads for premium comfort. Like all Humanscale chairs, the Freedom chair was designed to look and function like new after years of consistent use.

Freedom’s body-fitting contours ensure the user sits in comfort all day long. Our cushions are built to maximise comfort for four hours, rather than the industry standard four minutes, which is as long as a sit-test in a new chair generally lasts.

Freedom eliminates the need for traditional recline mechanisms, which can be bulky and weigh up to 6.8kg (15 lbs.). Instead, Freedom uses the sitter’s body weight and the laws of physics to perfectly and automatically adjust recline support for each individual.

Freedom’s body-friendly armrests move up and down together, staying with the user during recline for continuous comfort and support. Unlike other chair designs, Freedom’s armrests are attached to the back of the chair to ensure synchronous use.

Available Delivery 3-5 days, not available 12-14 weeks.

Standard Warranty 3 years.

Freedom Chair By Niels Diffrient

Chair Width: 690mm (27.25″)
Base Width: 635mm (25″)
Height: 510mm (20″)
Weight: 17kg (38 lbs) with arms / 15.5kg (34 lbs) without arms