Monday, June 29, 2009

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Final Day I will be parting with Amia as my week is over, and I am very, very sad. It's back to flimsy, unsupportive, sticky leather, generic office chairs for me. My experience with this amazing chair has opened my eyes to the possibilities of office chairs being comfortable and adjustable. It also makes me acutely aware of just how regretful of having to give it up I will be next week when I stand up and grab my back, hobble a few steps, then stand upright. Yes, it is possible to miss a chair. I know, because I miss my green, cushy, sturdy, flexible Amia already. Good bye Amia. You have a special place in my heart.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Day Five The strain of moving office equipment with my colleague yesterday took more of a toll on my back than I had thought, because I could not walk properly after I got home. I felt as if I had an eighty year-old's body. In light of that, I spent most of the evening seated. When I tried to stand up it took me (I kid you not) three minutes to get vertical. It hurt. A lot. On the ride to work this morning, I had some lingering pain issues and riding took a lot longer than usual. I was heavily anticipating being able to sit in Amia, having previously experienced its helpful qualities. Now that I have been sitting in it for a while, I feel worlds better. I can get out of my chair with a spring in my step, instead of meandering along at a granny's pace ... which is decidedly unbecoming for an eighteen year-old.

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Day Four I missed my Amia last night! I was sitting in this terrifically uncomfortable chair while I was working at home and that chair had barely any cush, no arms, back was rail straight and diamond hard - needless to say, I am spoiled in the Amia. My standards are higher now. On a one-to-ten scale (judging office chairs, home office included), I give it a nine. Most other office chairs tag in at a measly three. Ponder that; better yet, find out what I mean. Today I had the opportunity to sit in a Leap Chair, another fine member of the Steelcase family, and I think at this point that I prefer the Amia. Amia is a weightier chair and I like that - it is a good, sturdy, comfortable chair. A little later in the day I helped one of my co-workers change offices and I strained my back in a rather bad way and have been sitting down ever since. There is such a difference even after about half an hour; I can twist, sit back all the way, lean forward - really, it makes a difference.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Day Three The Amia is Amia-zing. Pardon the stretch for a pun, but we all know by now what a sucker I am for cheesiness. I can hardly find anything I do not like about the chair. So far, the only negative thing I can think of is the fact that I can easily pull the arm rests forwards when I do not want to. Not a bad thing at all, especially if you like armrests that move easily! Also, I am discovering that the Amia will lean very far back. It's not one of those tippy sorts of leans, either; you put pressure on the back and lean, and then you are stretching. It's a good feeling. Strangely enough, and to my relief, my back pain is lessening. Imagine that! A chair can affect the way your body feels in three days. I am notably less discomfited when I stand up than I was when I was using my old chair. The Amia is not a miracle cure-all, but it's helping. I am so grateful!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Day Two Let's talk fabric. My old chairs were leather, or something like it. You know, the kind that sticks to your skin until the last possible second when you are standing up? Yeah, that kind. Not the Amia though. It's a very nice comfy fabric. I wasn't sure at first, because when I first touched it, I thought it was a bit rough. Once I sat down I was reassured by the fact that I felt swathed. Comfortable. Snug. Not one ounce of an itch or annoying cling in this fabric. Over the course of the day I move around in my chair a lot, even going so far as to sit cross-legged. The Amia copes with it! I can adjust the lumbar support to my back no matter how I am sitting, leaving me always supported, provided I remember to change it. So far, this chair rocks it! And by "it," I mean my comfort. This green, comfortable, mobile chair ... rocks my comfortability.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Geneva, meet Amia. Amia, Geneva.

Contrary to popular belief, Geneva is not twelve. No, her winning personality has had eighteen years - and counting - to develop. Don't let the fact that she has recently graduated from high school fool you, she is a Class A go-getter and is very determined to give her best for what she wants ... which is currently to sit at a desk beside the Creative Director at Smart Furniture from ten to six every weekday. Not many eighteen-year-olds can claim to have an office; this one can. Day One The Amia is insta-ergonomic technology that has my back. I can honestly say that I have never been happier about a chair switch in my Smart Furniture career -- now, I have only had three switches so far, but I'm trying to magnify the fact that this is by far my favorite. I did a little pre-switch research and discovered that the design for the Amia has roots in the old version of the Volkswagen Bug and a nearly-empty glass of cognac. Don't drink and drive is what comes to mind next after hearing that, but fortunately I'm at no risk there. I find those ideas very off-the-wall for a chair, but at the same time, I am happy to sit on an idea like that. It reminds me to think outside the boundary or the expected norm. Earlier today I was complaining about how my back was bothering me, and believe me, it was. I ride my bicycle to and from work, plus most everywhere else I want to go, every day. That leaves me with aches and pains that are hard to deal with and an uncomfortable chair does nothing except perpetuate them. Sitting down in my new Amia after adjusting it to the nuances of my body is sublime. I feel no pressure on my back besides support. As I said, sublime. And, ironically, my Amia is green. Ha! Get it? Sub-lime, green? Ah, I never get over cheesy jokes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Steelcase Creates Life

To demonstrate their commitment to going green, during the career exchange the recruiters from Steelcase gave out only one thing: a card made of biodegradable fibers with wildflower seeds embedded in it. So it doesn't just biodegrade, it creates life! And we all know how good plants are for the environment. Well done, Steelcase. more here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Steelcase and Herman Miller Unveiled New Products at NeoCon

CHICAGO, Ill. -- At the NeoCon 2009 trade show, Herman Miller and Steelcase unveiled some of their newest, and improved, products that are made with recycled material, are recyclable, use less energy, take up less shipping space or help cut down on energy use. Herman Miller's new Setu chairs are designed as multipurpose chairs - for use in places like conference rooms - but they are made for people to spend longer periods of time in. The chair is made with one continuous seat and back, and the only adjustment it has is for seat height, leaving it with fewer parts and weighing less than 20 pounds. The chairs contain 48 percent recycled content, are 92 percent recyclable, and are seeking Cradle to Cradle and Greenguard certification. The company has also announced its Energy Manager, a system that can control two of the four circuits of power that feed into a group of workstations, providing quick and easy power management to individuals. The Energy Manager can either be programmed to only provide power at certain times or use occupancy-based controls to provide power to certain devices only when someone is at the workstation. In the new Intent furniture line of desks, storage and shelving, reclaimed wood accounts for 90 percent of the wood content in the work surface substrates. Herman Miller also unveiled a couple of new light products. Twist is an LED undershelf light that uses 40-50 percent less energy than traditional undershelf lights and provides 60,000 hours of light. Flute is an LED desktop light that uses 4.5 watts of energy, can last up to 100,000 hours, is 82 percent recyclable and is made from 26 percent recycled content. Steelcase has announced a broad range of news as well. Its Nesso access floor is made with recycled materials like newspaper and fly ash, and has eliminated the use of PVC. Steelcase's Cogent Group collection of Cradle to Cradle Gold certified textiles has been expanded to include more colors and styles. The company has also expanded the choices available for its Think chair, which now has 14 standard color options, utilizing Cogent Group textiles. Steelcase has additionally redesigned the packaging for shipping its Think and Amia chairs, reducing the amount of space needed to move them around by the equivalent of 150 Steelcase trucks per year. more here.

Steelcase Think Chair Is Worth The Price

During a recession, it's hard to justify purchasing new office furniture, especially of the sleek and stylish variety. Sure, it was one thing to shell out $1,000 for an Aeron Chair back in the dot-com bubble days. Or even during the more recent mid-2000s boom. But spending upwards of $729 on a chic seat like Steelcase's (SCS) Think chair now? While it seems like an extreme expenditure, it could just be worth it. This is the conclusion I come to after trying out a Think chair in "Coconut" (white vinyl) at work for four months—the whole first quarter of 2009. If white vinyl sounds impractical, think again: Its surface was as soft as real leather, and you can wipe away spilled coffee without guilt. The chair design features two trade-marked mechanisms created by Steelcase after consulting health experts at institutions such as the University of Vermont's Back Research Center. Flexible metal bands in the seat back support and move with your back, while the reclining apparatus underneath the seat leverages body weight to provide a smooth transition from sitting upright to leaning backward. Gone are the jarring or jerky position switches that can occur with other office chairs. And you can adjust the arm rests, covered with a cushiony plastic, so they can slide closer to the body. Move them backward and forward by nudging them with your elbows—wonderful when typing and then abruptly moving toward the phone to answer a call. There aren't any complicated levers, though you can "program" your favorite chair positions via an analog, manual knob. Troubles Vanish In the months I tried the chair, I saw some writing-related injuries disappear. (Full disclosure: I usually sit in an Aeron Chair.) I'm not sure this is coincidence. A small cyst in my left wrist disappeared during this time. The wrist aches I used to have from typing too much went away—although I was in fact typing more than before. Which brings me to a caveat: When I was using the Think chair, I took fewer breaks to get up and walk around. While I certainly was productive during the first quarter of 2009, I had to wonder about how healthy these hour-long spells of sitting really were. Another "warning": The Think chair is good-looking. Colleagues who usually don't walk past my cubicle made detours because they had heard I had a cool new seat. Invariably, they commented on the chair's striking appearance. I don't think it's a coincidence that the features added to the latest version of the Think chair (the first version was launched nearly five years ago) are new fabrics and colors. In March, Steelcase announced bright new shades that essentially, and unofficially, match the vibrant hues of the current Apple (AAPL) iPod Nano music players. On the chairs, the colors are featured in a soft, knit fabric. Sure, this is a cosmetic upgrade, but the fact that no other upgrades were announced also speaks to the effectiveness of the chair's original design and engineering. While its price tag suggests it's a bit of a luxury right now, the real reason to buy the chair is its functionality—its ergonomic comfort and simplicity of use. But the new Think chair's jewel-toned fabrics provide a bit of a mood boost, too. And these days, who couldn't use a mood boost as well? Jana is the Innovation Dept. editor for BusinessWeek.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Herman Miller Products Pick Up Awards at Neocon

Chicago — Herman Miller’s Setu and Embody chairs, along with its Twist task light, have picked up awards at NeoCon 2009 World’s Trade Fair. Interior design and real estate management professionals jury the “Best of NeoCon Awards.” They recognized Herman Miller's Setu chair with a gold award in the Conference Seating category and a silver award in the Lounge Seating category. Also, the Embody chair got a silver award in the Ergonomic Seating category, while the Twist light was given gold. The awards are sponsored and organized by the International Interior Design Association, the International Facility Management Association, Contractmagazine, the McMorrow Report and Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. “These awards reflect our company’s continuing investment in innovation and also the talent and dedication of employees and designers who made it possible for us to achieve this recognition," noted Herman Miller President and CEO Brian Walker. More from The Holland Sentinel

Steelcase Receives Five Best NeoCon Awards and Best Overall Showroom for Nurture

- Awards Recognize Outstanding Design Innovation in Casegoods, Seating, Tables and Fabrics - CHICAGO, June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today announced that the Steelcase family of companies won five Best of NeoCon awards, including two Gold awards, and two showroom awards. Nurture(R), a Steelcase company and a leading manufacturer of furniture for healthcare environments, won the Best Large and Best Overall showroom awards. Products recognized with a Best of NeoCon award include casegoods, seating, tables and a rug collection, all of which are on display at this year's NeoCon 2009 World's Trade Fair for Interior Design and Facilities Management in Chicago. IIDA/Contract Magazine Showroom and Design Competition at NeoCon 2009 Sponsored by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and Contract magazine, the 14th annual IIDA/Contract magazine Showroom and Booth Design Competition honors originality of design, visual impact, effective use of materials and the outstanding use of space, color, texture, lighting and graphics in showrooms and booths at NeoCon 2009. Nurture won Best Large and Best Overall Showroom, picking up two of the five available awards in the showroom design competition. Over 3,000 square feet in size, the Nurture showroom is a testament to the company's bold vision to shape and improve the future of healthcare delivery by making healthcare environments more comfortable, efficient and conducive to the healing process. Nurture's showroom was commended for authentically recreating a healthcare environment within The Mart and successfully showcasing the integrity of the product and what it does. Best of NeoCon 2009 Sponsored by Contract magazine and celebrating its 20th year, the Best of NeoCon awards recognize the top new products introduced at the show. Steelcase Inc. received a total of five Best of NeoCon Awards, taking home two Gold awards, one Silver award, the Innovation Award and Editors' Choice Award. The first of two Gold awards went to Denzien by Coalesse, Steelcase's premium life/work furnishings division, in the Case Goods: Desks & Credenzas category. Denzien is a new collection of casegoods that fit as easily at home as they do in the modern private office. This collection offers a more socially inviting space and bridges the gap of work and life by infusing insightful work process solutions. The elements of the multi-modal Denizen collection -- storage units, tables and desking -- offer unmatched functionality for seamless transitions and offer smart features that include self-closing doors and drawers and integrated, clutter-free technology access points. More on article

Monday, June 15, 2009

Connect and Come Together with Steelcase

New media:scape Capabilities Help Workers Connect and Come Together media:scape™ settings can now host high-definition (HD) videoconferencing to help teams boost collaboration – locally and globally. CHICAGO – June 15, 2009 – Steelcase Inc. (NYSE:SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today announced new performance capabilities for its innovative media:scape™ product line – at NeoCon 2009, the World’s Trade Fair for Interior Design and Facilities Management. media:scape settings can now host high definition videoconferencing systems, enabling distributed teams to view content and each other simultaneously. media:scape coupled with HD videoconferencing helps teams boost collaboration – locally and globally – by helping teams connect and share information quickly and easily. As many businesses work to reduce costs, travel is often being replaced with high tech tools like HD videoconferencing. Most HD videoconferencing systems tend to be hosted in dedicated rooms that are very costly, serve only one purpose and are more focused on the technology than on the people and the meeting experience. Steelcase sought to create a solution that could deliver an HD videoconference experience while simultaneously delivering an improved collaboration experience and a space that supports user needs beyond HD videoconferencing alone. To do this, Steelcase turned to its media:scape solution that merges furniture with technology to help teams connect and share information quickly and easily. media:scape can now host the HD videoconferencing system of a client’s choice within their media:scape setting. HD video content switches automatically to a media:scape display screen through the use of proprietary firmware designed to auto-sense when a high-definition videoconference system is connected. That simple experience builds on the “open. connect. share.” mantra of the media:scape product line. Because the solution is furniture-based, it can be an effective solution in both the private office and the open plan environment. Open plan solutions leverage a new media:scape “canopy” which can help to improve sound quality by absorbing sound on the inside of the canopy and reflecting it on the outside. The result is a versatile, cost-effective furniture solution that can support collaboration and allow workers to connect “face-to-face” both locally and globally via a network connection. Best of all the space can support teams and meetings when not being used for videoconferencing. It is an example of how a space can work harder by working smarter. Shedding New Light on Collaboration media:scape was designed to help teams in collaborative settings. c:scape™, the companion solution to media:scape, was designed to enhance collaboration within the individual space. Steelcase is introducing new lighting solutions for c:scape that place light exactly where it’s needed, while simultaneously reducing unnecessary emissions, allowing organizations to enhance their sustainability efforts. The first enhancement is an LED lighting fixture designed for the desk. It delivers an even amount of light across the surface and integrates seamlessly with other privacy elements and c:scape tools. Other improvements include fluorescent fixtures that mount to the c:scape beam or storage, providing a soft, distributed glow that umbrellas several people at one time. Steelcase recognizes the important role that lighting can play in workplace wellness by providing cognitive, social and physical benefits. All of these new lighting solutions have been designed for versatility – fixtures can be moved, added or removed to adjust for changing lighting needs due to facility moves or changing tasks throughout the day. Designed to supplement today’s lower overall architectural lighting levels, the collection helps companies meet the reduced energy goals of LEED projects. About Steelcase Inc. and more. l

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Greener By Design

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- has partnered with Net Impact and Steelcase to create the Steelcase Sustainable Design Scholarships -- four full scholarships to the 2009 Greener by Design conference. The four lucky winners will receive full conference registration, as well as travel and lodging at the event, scheduled to take place May 19-20, in San Francisco, Calif. Greener By Design, produced by, is the conference where hundreds of brand managers, business strategist, sustainability officers, marketing directors, product designers, material sourcing experts, and many others go to get the answers, tools, insight, and inspiration to improve their company’s bottom line through product innovation and green design techniques. With a long history of leadership in sustainable design, Steelcase, the global manufacturer of office furnishings, is looking to identify ways that design, defined broadly as products, services or business ventures, can be used to improve lives. They have funded the scholarships as a means of supporting the next generation of product designers who understand the opportunity to align environmental and social goals with cutting-edge design. By GreenBiz Staff More on the article here

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What We Think About THINK

Last Day with Mark When I look at the Think, what I see is a minimalist, inside-outside design that I appreciate aesthetically. The LiveBack system is visible but doesn’t look like it’s functional as much as it looks like a design element, and the two frame bars that hold up the back look unyielding in their curve. What I’ve found after sitting in the chair for a week (yes, it’s been a week – I only wrote on 4 days, but have been in the chair that long) is that the frame bars, since they’re independent and not connected at the top, flex quite a bit. The result is that when I turn in the chair and move around, the back is not stiff from side to side, but twists with me quite comfortably. I’ve also found that the LiveBack isn’t just pretty trappings for a modern chair. The metal cords have a huge degree of give and have worked together to shape the back far beyond what I would have expected. I tend to sit sort of angled, which I know is not the most healthy or ergonomically correct position, but that’s just how it works best with the desk I’ve got. What the LiveBack has done – along with the frame’s give at the top – is it has helped the chair support me where I am, rather than try to conform my posture to its shape by putting undue stress on one part of my back. The seat is comfortably soft, but not soft enough to let me slump down into it; it is not comfort on the level of an Eames Softpad Lounge Chair, but it beats most every other office chair I’ve sat on. Part of the reason I like the design so much is that it allows for a pad in the seat, rather than ruling it out by having such a slim profile my Grandma wouldn’t be able to see it. Finally, the armrests: after a week of use, I’ve come up with a few preferred configurations. Right now I’m in the typing configuration (remember, I sit crooked). The left armrest is front-in, back-out. The right armrest is front-out, back-in. The SketchUp (Google’s 3D software program) configuration calls for both armrests to have the front in and the back out because I put my right arm wider to use the mouse for that program. Now that you know more than you need to about my sitting habits, the simplest thing is to understand that these armrests offer great flexibility with ease. To move them from one configuration to the next, all I do is drag them with my elbow (!!!). They are my favorite feature on the Think because of the ease and flexibility. At Smart Furniture, none of us is a single-function employee, so it’s super useful to have equipment that assists us with whatever it is we’re doing. I’m sure you can relate. We really need a grading system for these chairs we’re reviewing, but maybe we’ll do that when we’re done with all the reviews. In any case, I’m comfortable in the Think and that sounds like a pretty good grade to me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What We Think About THINK

Day Six with Cyndi I really look forward to sitting in the Think Chair again today. It makes me sad to realize that today is my last day to “test drive” the Think Chair. After today I must go back to sitting in my very un-cushioned, uncomfortable chair, the one at home and the one at work. You know, I think I need to convince my husband that we need a new desk and chair at home because I do work several hours from home each week. ;) I have really enjoyed the “test drive”. I highly recommend the Think Chair by Steelcase.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What We Think About THINK

Day Five with Mark Today I pretty well settled into the chair and found that I like the 3rd setting on the tilt limiter – not quite all the way laid back, but supportive – and it allows me to push back slightly against it and rock a little bit. My grandfather would say that I’m keeping my joints lubricated. He’d also say that I need to shave, and that if I’m not careful, my face will stick like this. Well, at least he’s right about moving while I work; I’ve found that it helps me at the end of the day to have spent it in movement, no matter how slight. When I lean back, the seat stays level, so there’s no edge cutting into the backs of my knees (in fact, there’s no edge at all, as much as that sounds contrary to physics). My circulation has not been cut off at any part of any of the days I’ve tried Think. At the same time, the arms – wonder of wonders – stay in place. They don’t tilt back with the chair, like every other chair out there, or at least most of them. The effect is that my hands don’t feel like they’re being pulled away from the keyboard as I rock,and I can actually place the armrests at a usable height without fear that they’ll scrape the bottom edge of my desk if I lean back. Ergonomics nerds like me will love this chair.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What We Think About THINK

Day Four with Cyndi I work part time (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to be exact), as well as some hours from home. So I was really glad when it was Wednesday and I could sit in the Think Chair again. However, I was disappointed when I arrived at my office and Mark Rico had “borrowed” the chair on Tuesday. He brought it back right away though. The Think Chair was just as comfortable the second day as it was the first. I really enjoy the adjustable recline and arm rests. The arm rests adjust closer to your body or farther away as well as angling from left to right. This makes the Think Chair very conforming to your preferences. As I was sitting in the chair I was really wishing I had a comfortable chair at home to sit in while I work. The chair and desk I have at home are very uncomfortable and as a result I sit on my bed and work on my laptop when I work at home. When I work for an hour or two at a time sitting on my bed, it becomes very uncomfortable too. I seriously need a new desk and chair at home.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tricycle's Ample Sample Competition

What is Ample Sample? A contest created by Tricycle (one of our favorite companies) which challenges designers to rethink and repurpose carpet samples after their usefulness to a design project, to make a design product. The best ideas will be showcased at NeoCon 2009 and featured on the website, complete with blueprints and instructions for their designs. (from the Ample Sample Site)
Ample Sample in Dwell:
In the perfect vision of a sustainable future, products will be designed and produced based on cradle-to-cradle principles, eliminating waste and drastically reducing the amount of virgin resources used to keep the material world spinning round. At present, however, we still have a lot of unsustainably designed products on a slow march to the landfills. In an effort to breathe a second life into garbage-bound goods, the Ample Sample 2009 competition challenged designers to repurpose carpet samples and design new, "upcycled" products.
See the full article here

What We Think About THINK

Day Three with Mark The back of the chair’s got this system of independent cables that Steelcase calls the “Liveback” system. What that means to me is that while I’ve been sitting here, sort of rocking in the chair, the back has been moving to accommodate me as I move. It’s not a padded back, except for the cloth covering the cables, but it somehow gives the impression that it’s solidly cushioned. That, combined with the cushy seat, makes the overall sitting experience a pretty luxurious one. I spent a lot of time at my desk today, and at no point did I get uncomfortable. I just had an urge to get up and move around every so often, as is normal for me. The thing that sets this chair apart is its slim, modern profile.Yes, it’s cushy. Yes, it’s modern. No, it’s not clumsy and overstuffed. No, it’s not overbearing. It’s more like my favorite thing about my office, rather than just office furniture. The one I’m using is white back/white seat and it’s super crisp and attractive.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What We Think About THINK

Day Two with Cyndi I was very excited when I was asked to “test drive” the Think Chair by Steelcase.I am not a woman of many words so I was concerned that maybe I was not the best choice for this “test drive” and analysis, but nonetheless I agreed. When I first sat down in the Think Chair I immediately noticed the very cushioned and comfortable seat. I also noticed how comfortable it was when I leaned back. You see, I ruptured a disk in my back a few years ago so there aren’t too many chairs that are truly comfortable. So I need a chair that has great lumbar support and helps my back relax while sitting. The Think chair does have a great lumbar support which really helps my posture while sitting, not one of my strong points. I also noticed the dial on the right side that allows the chair to recline more or less, depending on my preference. The chair I normally sit in has a lever to allow the chair to recline slightly or not recline at all. So the dial on the Think Chair gives me more options depending on the way I feel for the day. I am a woman and yes I change my mind often. I am looking forward to my second day in the Think...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Steelcase Think(R) Chair Achieves Highest Level(TM) Certification to New BIFMA e3 Standard

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Steelcase Think(R) chair has received level(TM) 3 certification to the new Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) e3 sustainability standard. Think was independently certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Level(TM) 3 certification is the highest level of achievement possible in this BIFMA certification program. Manufacturers can only achieve level(TM) certification from a participating third party, such as SCS, which meets rigorous level(TM) criteria for certification bodies and assesses products against the specified BIFMA standard. The e3 standard represents BIFMA's first multi-attribute sustainability standard specifically for furniture. BIFMA gathered a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop the sustainability standard to distinguish environmentally preferable business and institutional furniture. The standard has multiple conformance levels, i.e. levels 1, 2, or 3 with level(TM) 3 being the highest. Products are certified using a point system that encompasses both product and facility characteristics and environmentally-friendly corporate policies. "This is an outstanding achievement that honors the strong sustainability design aspects of Think and is a reflection of Steelcase's commitment to designing for the environment," said Jim Keane, president, Steelcase North America. "No other chair has been so carefully considered with regard to its impact on the environment in all stages of product lifecycle. The steps taken during the development of Think have led the way for other products." "Steelcase's ability to achieve level(TM) 3 certification is a testament to their longstanding commitment to sustainability and sustainable product design," Tom Reardon, executive director, BIFMA noted. "It is no simple achievement." "It's gratifying to see how all of our work in materials chemistry, life cycle assessment and end of life strategies for our products contributed to this level(TM) 3 certification," Keane noted. "All of our future level(TM) product certifications will build on our longstanding sustainable product development and business practices." The Think chair is a high performance chair that was designed for people and the environment. During its development, Steelcase documented the lifecycle impacts of Think from its raw material state through manufacturing processes to end of life. Weighing only 32 pounds, Think uses less material than comparable chairs. It disassembles in five minutes with common hand tools, is comprised of up to 37 percent recycled content, and is up to 98 percent recyclable at end of life. In addition to Think, Steelcase also announced level(TM) certification for its Leap(R), Move(R), Amia(R), and Siento(R) seating, Answer(R) system, and Universal storage products. About Steelcase Inc. Steelcase provides furniture, services and insights to help people have a better work experience, and to help companies and organizations create inspiring spaces with a maximum impact on performance and a minimum impact on the environment. A Michigan-based company that has been serving customers for nearly a century, Steelcase leads the global office furniture industry with $3.2 billion in annual revenue (FY09). Learn more at SOURCE Steelcase Inc. Source: PR Newswire Customize your own Think Chair here, and follow the What We Think About THINK to hear the inside story from our two employees.

What We Think About THINK

Because of our continuing curiosity about what it’s like to use the great chairs we sell, we here at Smart Furniture have prevailed upon two of our fine employees to test the Steelcase Think chair. Mark Rico (our resident rendering specialist) and Cyndi Brackett (our accountant extraordinaire), have graciously accepted the opportunity to share the Think for one week and write about their experience.

Mark, in addition to his superb SketchUp and facial-hair-growing skills, is glad to spend life with his wife and two daughters. He hopes to one day hike the Appalachian Trail with his family and is currently reading about insects and spiders because they’re amazing.

Cyndi works out of our office three days a week and is at home the remaining four. She is very blessed to have a wonderful husband and two amazing kids. Her son is entering middle school next year and her daughter will be entering Kindergarten next year. Yes, she drives a minivan and hauls kids around all day but loves every minute of it. She hopes to go to Europe on vacation at some point in the future. On those days when she doesn’t have a minute to herself she looks forward to being an empty nester!

Day One with Mark

Today I started a week-long test of the Steelcase Think chair. Steelcase isn’t really the first brand many people think of when they’re considering modern furniture, or even seating for their home offices. However, the Think pretty well demonstrates that Steelcase doesn’t just make conventional office furniture; it’s beautiful to look at (especially the one I’m sitting in – white seat, white mesh back – stunning) and super comfortable. The real question at this point is how it performs every day.

The first thing I did was read the little how-to-adjust-the-chair tag that came with the Think. It’s only a one-page diagram that tells you what the knobs do, and it’s really all that’s necessary. Think is a very intuitive chair to adjust. The lever thing (there’s only one – simple) is for adjusting the height. The knob thing (there’s only one – again, very simple) is for setting the tilt limit, and there are 4 settings. Under the front of the seat, there’s a bar very similar to the bar you’d find under the front seat of your car, and you lift it and scoot the seat forwards or backwards to increase or decrease the seat depth. There are about 2 inches of adjustability for the depth which turns out to be enough for me, and I’m 6’1”.

The armrests are by far the most fun function. They move in/out in front and back, independently, so that you can find the best position without pressing buttons or being confined to a preset location. Throughout the day, as I’ve gotten used to sitting here, I’ve gotten comfortable enough to just move the armrests with my elbows as I change position.

More tomorrow, but my first impression is that I like the way it feels almost as much as I like the way it looks, and it looks incredible. This is the kind of chair that I want to have in my home office and just “happen” to leave the door open, hoping my guests will see it as I purposefully lead them past the doorway …