Steelcase Unveils New Category of Collaborative Seating at NeoCon 2008
Two new chairs specifically designed to enhance and facilitate collaboration
June 9, 2008 – Chicago, IL – Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today announced the preview of two new seating products at NeoCon 2008, the World’s Trade Fair for Interior Design and Facilities Management.
In today’s competitive business landscape, organizations are learning that when people can connect, great collaboration can happen.As a result, Steelcase has responded with a new category of seating that combine aesthetics with performance to facilitate the kind of collaboration that results in innovation.
“Even though we know that the amount of time that workers are spending in team or collaborative spaces is dramatically increasing, the focus of seating in the workplace has remained on the chair at a person’s desk. So, Steelcase set out to learn how people work – and sit – in collaborative spaces and created seating to support it,” said Jim Keane, president, Steelcase Group.
Through observational research, Steelcase identified three key insights that drove the design of its new seating products:
Collaboration takes time and chairs designed for short-term sitting (like those often found in conference rooms and team spaces) cause fatigue over time and can drain energy. So, collaborative seating should promote movement and be comfortable for long periods.
Workers in collaborative spaces don’t adjust their chairs, they adapt. So, adjustments should be automatic and/or intuitive.
People change postures a lot when they collaborate to fight fatigue, to follow a presenter, and to actively engage with others. So, collaborative seating should support multiple postures.
Face to Face, Eye to Eye
i2i™is a new alternative for collaborative settings that helps people stay focused and connected.
i2i™is free of adjustments, yet has a flexing back and a mechanism that invite both movement and support when sitting upright or reclined. It supports a variety of postures through its dual swivel mechanism that allows users to swivel the seat and back together, swivel the back only (stay oriented to others while adjusting your posture to reduce fatigue) or swivel the seat only (keep your posture but change your orientation). The flexing back features molded “fingers”that support back movement and recline, for comfort.
“Many team spaces feature couches or club chairs – at the best – or furniture that has been recycled from other spaces at worst. Neither option is ideal for the demands now being placed on these spaces,” said Thomas Overthun of IDEO. “Today’s teams are looking for relaxed spaces that will facilitate technology, provide comfort in multiple postures for long periods of time, and ultimately, help them work together better. i2i advances the notion of collaborative seating by providing a visually-striking chair that surprises users with its incredible performance.”
i2i is available with or without tablet arm, and with or without wheels. Surface materials include multiple finishes and sixteen knit colors for the seat and back, and optional COMs and leather on the seat.
A Seat at the Table
Compact and lightweight, cobi™is seating for teams that helps people move freely and minimize fatigue. cobi™dynamically supports a wide range of postures with only one manual adjustment for seat height. An intuitive, weight-activated mechanism provides support by automatically responding to the user’s movement. Its elastomeric top edge gives way and provides comfort, as opposed to resistance, when users drape an arm over the back of the chair.Additionally, the seat pan flexes on three sides, allowing users to sit in multiple directions in comfort. A unique, breathable knit material on the back adds to cobi’s cool, comfortable sit.
“Catering to a new mode of working, cobi offers freedom and comfort, spontaneously adjusting to a variety of postures and ultimately recharging the user to remain connected in collaborative environments,” said cobi designer Luke Pearson of London-based PearsonLloyd.
A table–based collaborative chair, cobi is available as a five-star based chair, a stool or a nester, in multiple finishes and sixteen knit colors for seat and back., and optional COM’s and leather on the seat.
Both chairs are a continuation of the Alive Seating™portfolio and are based on its four key principles; movement, orientation, fit, and sustainability. Steelcase has submitted both products for Cradle-to-Cradle® certification.
The chairs will begin shipping in North America during the first quarter of 2009.
About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, helps people have a better work experience by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. The company designs and manufactures architecture, furniture and technology products. Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) serves customers through a network of over 600 independent dealers and approximately 13,500 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2008 revenue was $3.4 billion. Learn more at www.steelcase.com.