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At Humanscale, “Less Bad Isn’t Good Enough” for a Sustainable Future


New York-based Humanscale aims to lead the next wave in design, sourcing, manufacturing, and product lifecycle, even as its furniture supports a healthy, more intuitive, more active way for people to work.

Humanscale, a global leader in workplace ergonomics, guides all its operations by four pillars: Function, Simplicity, Longevity, and something it calls “Beyond Sustainability.” Those ethics have been behind all its innovations in high-performance, robust, and adaptable office furniture. Since its founding in 1983 when it daringly proclaimed that desks and chairs and lighting ought to adapt to us, rather than the other way around.

The four pillars were behind the company’s status as a true market leader with the introduction of its flagship Freedom chair in 1999, created by renowned ergonomics designer Niels Diffrient. Behind its first global recognition as workplace ergonomics innovator in the ’90s with the advent of revolutionary articulating keyboard systems that today we take completely for granted.

The pillars are behind the reason Humanscale’s products find themselves featured on the sets of TV shows and movies including The NewsroomNew Girl24The Bourne UltimatumMission: Impossible III, & Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

And they’re behind the philosophy and decisions of Jane Abernethy, its Chief Sustainability Officer, too.

Abernethy got her start as a senior industrial designer with the company, having spent more than a decade before working on and leading design teams through development of new products—from sporting goods to medical devices, and eventually, to furniture…

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