Humanscale: Creating a More Comfortable Place to Work


Karen Brooking


New York — Just one company in the contract furniture industry was named among the top ten companies worldwide “that help push design forward” by I.D. Magazine. This same company’s flagship chair, only three years after its launch, was singled out by The New York Times as “the gold standard in office seating.”
Its award-winning products are regularly featured on hit TV shows including 24, CSI: Miami, Boston Legal, and Medium, and feature films such as Transformers, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X2 and Mission Impossible III.
It grew 355% between 1998 and 2006—a period when its beleaguered industry declined 12%. And it outfits much of the Fortune 500 with its best-in-class ergonomic work tools that improve the comfort and safety of office workers.
Despite this impressive background—and despite the fact that you very well may be using some of its products at your own desk—Humanscale is one of the office industry’s best-kept secrets.
Beginning with its first product—an anti-glare filter that improved the visibility of monochrome monitors in the early 1980s—Humanscale has quietly but surely gone about its business of designing groundbreaking products. It revolutionized adjustable keyboard supports in the late 1990s, and today is the runaway leader in high-end articulating keyboard systems.
Humanscale’s Freedom chair—designed by renowned industrial designer Niels Diffrient—broke new ground by combining unprecedented functionality with minimal manual controls, utilizing dynamic mechanisms that respond to the requirements of each individual user automatically. Since its introduction in 1999, Freedom has won 10 international design awards and has been featured in virtually every major design publication.
Diffrient’s design for the Liberty chair—a revolutionary mesh seating solution—continued Freedom’s legacy, collecting a number of prestigious awards in its own right, and earning a place in the 2007 National Design Triennial at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
Today, Humanscale’s award-winning product line includes task and office seating, articulating keyboard supports, adjustable monitor arms, task lighting, CPU holders, laptop holders, foot rests and ergonomic mice. Its success in these product categories is the result of a deep commitment to design, evidenced by Humanscale’s longtime partnership with Diffrient, whose position as one of the world’s most influential designers is unquestioned, and the development of its in-house design team, headed by Manuel Saez.
Says Humanscale’s founder and CEO, Robert King, “We believe that the best designs in the world are based on function. If a design solves a functional problem as simply and elegantly as possible, it will not only have superior performance, but its aesthetic will be timeless as well.”
It is this philosophy that has driven Humanscale to develop one revolutionary product after another, aimed at exceptional performance, sound ergonomics, and simple, intuitive operation.
Such product innovation has resulted in substantial revenue growth. Humanscale’s worldwide sales in 2006 exceeded $150, up from $33 million just eight years prior. To support this growth, Humanscale operates a 125,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Piscataway, New Jersey, along with other facilities in Fresno, CA, and Dublin, Ireland. In addition, Humanscale maintains more than a dozen sales offices in the United States and international locations in Toronto, London, Prague, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Continuing the company’s history as a leader in innovative design, Humanscale’s newest products—the heavily anticipated Switch Mouse and Cinto stacking chair—have already earned numerous design awards. Both products will begin shipping later this year.

Headquartered in New York City with distribution worldwide, Humanscale is the leader in ergonomic design, creating a more comfortable place to work. For more information, contact Customer Service at 800-400-0625 or visit

About Humanscale

Humanscale is the premier designer and manufacturer of ergonomic products that improve the health and comfort of work life. Achieving more with less, Humanscale’s product designs have been honored with more than 150 prestigious awards since 2007 and featured in various museums such as The Museum of Modern Art.

 For more information on Humanscale and our products, visit



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