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todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit

With products like its new Path chair, global office ergonomics brand Humanscale is responding to the ecological, ergonomic and aesthetic demands of the flexible modern workplace.

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit
Path, designed by Todd Bracher, adapts intuitively to the user, fits home and work environments aesthetically, and is made with nearly 10kg of recycled materials from the ocean, including fishing nets



With the political, economic, social and ecological rollercoaster seemingly careering out of control, we are discovering what might be considered by some as the blooming obvious but by much of the business world who often like to box consumers, a hurdle: we humans are multifaceted and changeable. For Baiju Shah of Accenture Song, the creative arm of the consulting conglomerate, the term life-centric is replacing customer-centric, as people grapple to focus in on themselves, their health, happiness and survival, while panic planning for the future of the planet.

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit
Humanscale is dedicated to finding a balance between the needs of humans and the planet, to make office products that are ethically ergonomic. This includes the Liberty Ocean task chair


Balancing the needs of people and the planet

With external forces exerting more pressure, and a list of practical and ethical considerations that keeps getting longer, people are facing more complex and more frequent decisions than ever before,’ writes Shah in a recent report. ‘To help make decisions, consumers are looking to the people they trust the most: themselves. Now, they are ready to act in their own best interests – because if they won’t, who will?
How, might you ask, does this relate to choosing the chair you and your team want to spend their working days sitting on or the desk you line up your digital devices on? Well, it starts to speak of the imperative for new design to address two equally prominent dimensions consuming us today – ergonomics and ecology, our life and the planet’s life, human happiness and environmental balance.

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit
The earlier Liberty Ocean task chair also carries a net positive certification, proof it plays a small role in reversing climate change. All while serving as a highly ergonomic office chair


Banishing visual disharmony


Humanscale, whose name perhaps gives away the brand’s historical design mission, continues to pursue a path accommodating humans of all scales in office life. Its latest designs embrace simplicity and strive to take some unnecessary decision-making and layers out of ergonomic working life. Path, the newest chair design, crafted by one of US design’s big guns, Todd Bracher, exemplifies this direction. ‘Studies show only 2% of users know how to use a typical ergonomic office chair,’ says Humanscale’s International Brand Director Anand Gandesha. ‘Path is designed to adapt to fit the user like a three-piece suit. You push in one direction and the other parts balance out. Knobs and levers have been reduced and it only has two functions to consider – height and seat position.’  


If the drab predictability of task chair aesthetics is what drives you to distraction, this is addressed too – in Path’s simple, soft silhouette, and a choice of warm, refined and natural-coloured textiles which will sit as happily in the home working environment as that of an office. Path is joined in its ergonomic and visual decluttering mission by another new launch from Humanscale, NeatCharge, which is a device mounted beneath a desk that turns the entire surface into a wireless charging area, so wires can be banished and more space freed up. Alongside the brand’s NeatTech cable management system – lightweight basket-style storage which attaches to desks and lifts cables off the ground and the M/Connect 2 docking station, which is integrated into a monitor’s base – it increases the desk-tidying options available. Easing our sensitivity to design cohesion and compatibility may seem like the icing on the cake, but is increasingly an essential consideration.

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit
The new NeatCharge is a device charging system that attaches under the table leaving the surface level, easy to clean and free of unnecessary digital clutter


Planet positive design


Pushing forward the ergonomics and aesthetics of a chair’s design, however, counts for little now if its manufacture is not at peace with the environment. And this is where Path is truly making waves. The new chair is composed of nearly ten kgs of recycled materials, including reclaimed fishing nets, used plastic bottles, and post-industrial material. It equates to the recycling of 68 water bottles, and is a leap up from the one kg used in the manufacture of earlier chair designs, Smart Ocean and Liberty Ocean

todd bracher designs humanscale path office chair to fit like 3-piece suit
When Smart Ocean chair launched in 2018 it was the first in the industry to use recycled fishing nets – the most harmful of ocean plastics, in its manufacture. It works hard also to accommodate humans


It’s a planet-positive product and the most sustainable task chair to date,’ says Gandesha, pointing out that it has become one of 26 products, representing over 60% of Humanscale’s sales, that are climate, water, and energy positive as certified by the International Living Future Institute’s Living Product Challenge (LPC).


A chair design doesn’t change the world, but it can positively impact human happiness and productivity, and if it does so while lightening the load on the environment, it can perhaps make life on the rollercoaster a little less wobbly. 




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