For workplaces returning to the office and grappling with re-expanding their carbon footprints, a new collaboration between furniture manufacturer Humanscale and textile experts Kvadrat could be an exciting opportunity. The two companies, each deeply committed to sustainable practices, have announced an international collaboration that swaths Humanscale’s ergonomic chairs with Kvadrat’s textured upholstery.
We hinted at this partnership in June during Chicago’s Fulton Market Design Days, where Humanscale showcased the future of hybrid life. There, they previewed their Freedom task chair in Kvadrat’s seaworthy blue boucle. Before the end of the year Humanscale and Kvadrat will expand their collaboration to six more products including the Smart Ocean, Liberty Ocean, Summa, and Path chairs.
As more people are lured back into the office, Humanscale and Kvadrat are considering the comforts that have made the home setup preferable and are bringing that into the workplace.
Kvadrat will bring an enviable, upscale refinement to the once homely office chair. They’ve worked with designers like Inge Sempe, Doshi Levien, and Raf Simons to bring natural fibers to lampshades, sofas, and fashion accessories. They are bringing nine of their best-selling fabrics to Humanscale, including Raf’s Vanir. It’s a blend of felted wool and nylon that creates a multicolored speckle, adding depth to the short, smooth surface. Another fabric that stands out is Remix 3 by Giulio Ridolfo, made primarily from worsted new wool, which tightly weaves two mélange yarns to create a complex color variance on an otherwise minimalist surface.
These textiles will sharply elevate the aesthetics of Humanscale products like the Trea conference chair, designed by Humanscale’s creative director Todd Bracher. The wide form with its waterfall-edge seat, which releases pressure from the back of the knees, is utilitarian in its plastic shell. Dressing it up in Kvadrat’s Coda 2, a heavy-knit, tactile upholstery, will give it the cozy energy of a warm sweater.
Humanscale stands apart from other furniture companies because of its environmentally conscious ideology. In 2016, it launched the Ocean series, task chairs made from recycled plastic fishing nets, known as “ghost nets,” that pollute the seas. It started a trend. Brands like BMW, Gucci, and Samsung now incorporate recycled fishing nets in their own products.
“Humanscale’s collaboration with Kvadrat marks an exciting creative journey to ignite meaningful change on an industrial scale,” Todd Bracher said in a release. “Our shared values of design innovation, longevity, and sustainability make this partnership a perfect fit.”
Kvadrat, too, has been taking steps to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. The company is on track to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions, or carbon emissions that come from the supply chain rather than the company itself, from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, and business travel 30% by 2030.
“Humanscale shares values with us and both companies wish to rethink and explore how we live and work,” Kvadrat CEO Anders Byriel said. “We are looking forward to developing our collaboration with Humanscale in promoting wellbeing and connectivity and building this truly global partnership.”