Humanscale introduced several new products at NeoCon this year, all incorporating new technology to make things lighter, brighter, more energy efficient and, in general, more effective. Though the technology was enough to impress us, Humanscale also demonstrated a tremendous attention to design, unifying the technology cleverly and simply with the form and use of the object. For example, in the Element task lamp (designed by Mark McKenna), the heat sink for the LED also forms the head of the lamp--it not only keeps the head (including itself) cool to the touch but also allows the user to re-orient it by hand, a mighty achievement considering that heat sinks are usually pretty unfriendly components. It should also be mentioned that this light uses a new technology developed in Korea that allows a single LED to produce a wide angle of bright light.
Diffrient World Chair, by Niels Differient (pictured above), takes advantage of recent advances in "dynamic recline technology", allowing the chair to recline using only "two frame components, the user's body weight, and the laws of physics," eliminating the need for a complex mechanism. This simplification reduces the number of components by about 75 percent, allowing for a lighter and more comfortable chair with a much more environmentally-friendly production process.
Finally, Humanair is Humanscale's first foray into the world of air purifiers, and focuses on providing very clean air (99% virus and contaminant free) to a "clean zone" around the head of deskbound workers. According to Tom Revelle, the idea has been bouncing around Humanscale for some time, but the technology that enables it is brand new. He explains below:
Be sure to check out Humanscale's website for more information.
Lisa is dedicated to promoting the American contemporary design scene. She keeps herself busy as the co-founder of the Object Design League, an association of independent designers in Chicago, and design practice Smith&Linder, both co-founded with Caroline Linder. She also teaches foundation research studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.