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KnowledgeHistory

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Hundreds of furniture answers that began with thousands of questions. Innovation often begins with a "why?" or "why not" or "what if". At its most fundamental, it starts with "what do you need?". The answers have come in hundred forms, the widest variety of furniture solutions anywhere.

Important Events in the History of Office Furniture

Frank LLoyd Wright - 1937

Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright created these oval shaped desks for the S.C. Johnson building in collaboration with Steelcase. At the time, Life magazine called it "the most inspirational office building of the 20th century."

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World War II - 1945

Japan signs armistice ending WWII on a Steelcase desk.

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Diverse Spaces - 1998

More people working in teams and engaged in a variety of activities that required diverse spaces in the workplace. A product solution that integrated architecture, furniture and technology products was introduced to create a highly flexible workplace.

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Workcafe Opens - 2011

The WorkCafé is designed for work and nourishment, and has quickly become a showroom space for customer visits. "The WorkCafé is about giving people lots of personal choice from what they eat to workplace settings that range from lounge seating to dining tables to desks."

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Navy 1941 - 1945

In World War II, the U.S. Navy needed high-quality, durable FIREPROOF furniture and their call was answered with the Shipboard Furniture line from Steelcase, that included file cabinets, desks, beds and tables.

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Introduction of Color & Modern Style - 1954

Workers needed more inspiring surroundings to work better. Color and Modern style products were introduced into drab surroundings.

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Sustainability - 2004

Sustainable product from an environmentally responsible company that pays attention to materials that are good for people and the planet. “Think chair” from Steelcase is 99% recyclable, and can be disassembled in minutes with hand tools.

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Seating History 1500 - 2014

16th Century

Chairs function as indicators of privilege and social status, thus are highly ornate and decorative. Think “throne” of the golden variety, as opposed to the porcelain version that we associate with the term today.

Early 1900's

"Ergonomic" concepts are developed to enhance worker productivity. This approach to improving efficiency inadvertently disregards the well-being of those performing the work.

1937

Three-legged chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright introduced.

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1974

Steelcase introduces 430, with three dimensionally contoured seat and back shells based on ergonomic studies.

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1994

Seat depth and arm width adjustment debut on Criterion to support up to 225kg.

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2002

Leap technology is licensed by the leading airplane seating manufacturer.

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2004

One of the industries most environmentally responsible chairs, Think, is introduced. Think conforms to your body and stringent environmental standards.

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2014

Gesture is the first chair designed to support our interactions with today’s technologies. It was inspired by the movement of the human body and created for the way we work today.

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17th & 18th Century

Previously symbols of prestige, chairs, or “stools with backs,” gain popularity amongst the masses.

20th Century

Modern architecture and industrial design both adopt the basic design principle, "form follows function." The mass consumer market coupled with mass-production techniques transforms furniture from a handcrafted creation to a mass-produced one.

1960

1279 stacking chair introduced: stacks easily into a straight tower of chairs.

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1986

First of more than 5 million sensor chairs ships with new plastic technology that allows significant flex in back and seat. Available in three sizes.

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1999

After 4 years of research by 27 scientists, 11 separate studies involving 732 participants, 4 major technological breakthroughs and 48 patents, the Leap chair debuts.

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2003

In a study by the University of Texas and the W.E. Upjohn Institute, the Leap chair was proven to make people 17.8% more productive (in conjunction with ergonomic training) and reduce musculoskeletal symptoms.

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2010

Node chair, a collaborative effort between IDEO and Steelcase, launches the first product from Steelcase Education Solutions, it is an active learning classroom solution by enabling mobility and reconfiguration for collaboration or individual study.

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KnowledgeErgonomics

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Your third grade teacher was wrong: you shouldn’t sit still in your chair all day. You should be able to sit, stand and even walk while you work. You also need to stay oriented to your work as you change postures.
Your workspace should change to fit you, not the other way around.

Seating Problems

Seating Problems

GLOBAL POSTURE STUDY - 2,000+ PEOPLE, 11 COUNTRIES

Technology is the single greatest force driving the changes in the way we work, live and behave. The new, multiple devices we deploy throughout our work day allow us to flow between tasks, fluidly, and frequently. Steelcase’s global study uncovered nine new postures as a result of new technologies and behaviors. Today’s ergonomic chairs are inspired by the movement of the human body and created for the way we work.

The Draw

With tablets becoming the new device of choice, users are forced to draw these small, mobile devices toward them, causing arm and shoulder fatigue over time.

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The Text

Texting is a frequent activity for many workers throughout the day. When texting, users arms are often unsupported, creating shoulder strain.

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The Multi Device

People often blended devices to effectively perform their work. Here, left and right arms put uneven weight loads on the shoulders, causing muscle fatigue in neck, shoulders and back.

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The Take It In

In some cases technology is getting larger; like larger monitors. This posture is common when “taking in” content, but when the body reclines in this way the lower back needs added support, which some chairs just do not offer.

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The Smart Learn

People frequently receive information on their smartphones. As users lean to preserve privacy, back support is lost, causing disc compression and back pain.

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The Strunch

As people become fatigued, they gradually push their laptop away from them, causing hunching which leaves the lumbar and back unsupported.

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The Trace

When deep in concentration, people tend to ignore their posture. As users lean toward the screen the neck is forced to support a greater weight, resulting in fatigue and pain.

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The Swipe

When a small device like a tablet is placed on a surface, the body naturally begins to hunch forward, creating a sharp, downward neck angle resulting in neck fatigue and ultimately pain

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The Coon

With smaller devices, a user can recline and draw their tablet close, though the bend in the knee can reduce circulation and over time, deep vein thrombosis could occur.

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It's Time for High Performance Seating

Today, outstanding seating is crucial to the success of office environments and to the people who work in them.Think of the cockpit of a jet fighter aircraft or a F1 racing car; everything about seating in these environments is designed for top performance.

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It's not only about seating, it's about your performance!

Your chair should support your body, your mind and even our planet through our dedication to design, ergonomics, comfort and sustainability.

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An ergonomic approach to the work environment: acoustics

Today’s work practices make the office a much noisier place, and research shows that 20% of the user’s energy is used to fight against noise.

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Consequences of bad acoustics

1. Concentration decreases, errors increase.
2. Loss of confidentiality & information.
3. Stress increases, more aggressiveness towards others, absenteeism.

Acoustic design is the key to balancing privacy and collaboration in an open office and partitioning panels containing effective sound absorbing materials are indispensable in the open plan offices of today.

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KnowledgeInnovative Workspace

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There is something almost magical about inspiration and innovation. Something that drives us to reach beyond the ordinary and to create the truly extraordinary, to achieve results that others may only have dreamed of, to go that famous extra mile that makes all the difference in life and in business.

Is your worksplace ready? Global, mobile, 24/7

In today’s interconnected world, the way we work is rapidly changing. Due to technology and global competition, business has become more complex, interdependent and volatile. This has direct influence on the workers and the workplace. In this context the workplace can be a strategic business tool, but only if it is designed to support the way people and organizations work today.

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5 Workspace Problems

As we engage with our customers, we see five key workplace issues that need to be addressed to support all of the challenges their organizations are facing.

Enhance Collaboration

Group hug, maybe. Group work, definitely.

Collaboration is the way innovation is achieved in today’s interconnected world. The workspace needs to support distant collaboration with the proper technology which gives consideration to people, place and information.

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Real Estate Optimization

Not just shrinking - but rethinking.

Real estate is the most costly expense for most organizations, second only to personnel costs. A company cannot simply reduce its real estate. Instead, workplaces must work harder and smarter. To be fully optimized, the workspace must provide a range of spaces that serve multiple functions to provide everyone in the organization with the type of space they need.

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Attract, Develop, Engage

People really want to work here

In war for talent you need to get and keep the best. Rapid innovation and creativity is crucial to differentiate and stay competitive. The workplace can help to offer the choice and control to maintain the right talents highly motivated.

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Build brand and culture

The workplace is the company

Brand is a critical driver to an organization’s success and space can help foster the type of culture that fits the brand. Space gives permission to behave differently, to live the company culture. The workplace can be used to communicate what the company believes to an internal and external audience.

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Wellbeing at work

The office can actually make you feel better

An overall view of worker wellbeing has become a recognized strategy to boost an organization’s ability to innovate. Wellbeing in the workplace needs to consider the person’s physical, mental and social needs by providing a variety of spaces, tools and postures.

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Framework

For an interconnected workplace

An "interconnected workplace" offers the right blend of spaces and solutions to support the way people work in an interconnected world. It provides an environment of interrelated spaces and solutions that give users choice and control over where and how they work. It has to include the right amount of space for individual "I" work, as well as group "We" work. And there needs to be a combination of spaces that are shared or owned.

The interconnected workplace offers flexibility and can accommodate change. But there is no "secret recipe", each organization is different and each one needs a different blend of spaces.

The right range of spaces are ones that will support the 4 modes of work that people engage in while working - learning, socializing, collaborating, and focusing.

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Learning

Sharing information and experiences and coaching colleagues.

Socializing

Informal exchange of information with a small group of people.

Collaborating

Working with other people face to face or at distance.

Focusing

Individual work that requires concentration.

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I/owned workspace is personally owned by one person, like a private office or a resident workstation.

I/shared workspace can be used by different persons during a day for individual work, like Touchdown Spaces for Nomads

We/shared workspace is dedicated for collaborative work and be used by different people during the day, like training or meeting rooms.

We/owned workspace is used for collaborations, but the space is dedicated to a specific team, like project rooms.

"When you give people new environments, new tools, and new ways to use them, you get change, and that leads to innovation."

KnowledgeSustainability

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Sustainability has surpassed its environmental roots and is now the talk of the business world. It has become another source of inspiration for us, leading to smarter products, more cost-effective processes and new solutions.

What in the world?

In the last 50 years

1. The world's population has doubled from 3.5 to 7 billion people. More than 70 million people are being added to the planet each year.

2. Global energy consumption has increased fourfold, out-pacing the rate of population growth.

3. The world's economy has quintupled.

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Environmental Parameters

Global Warming

It is the rising of the global temperature due to emissions of greenhouse gases.

Acidification

It is the damage to trees and life in lakes and rivers, as well as accelerated degradation of materials such as metals, limestone and concrete, both due to acid emissions.

Eutrophication

It is the loss of plants and animals in aquatic ecosystems due to oxygen depletion following blooms of algae, stimulated by high nutrient concentrations.

Photochemical Smog

It is a type of air pollution harmful to the environment and human health caused by emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic components.

Abiotic Resource

It is the depletion of non-renewable resources such as oil, coal and metals due to their extraction and consumption.

Waste

It is the bulk waste and hazardous waste created during the whole life cycle of the product.

Toxic Substances

They are substances which cause harm to the natural environment or human health, emitted during the whole life cycle of the product.

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Are you looking for sustainable office solutions?

WE CAN HELP YOU!
We have chosen the following three key strategic initiatives because we believe that they will deliver the greatest results to the environment, to our customers and to our business.

Materials Chemistry

Develop products that are safe for people and the environment.

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WE WORK TO AVOID HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES THAT:

1. Can cause cancer or birth defects.

2. Impact the food chain.

3. Are mutagens.

4. Contain toxic heavy metals.

Life cycle assessment

A catalyst for continuous improvement and complete measurable process to minimize environmental impacts.

Reuse & Recycle

Create the conditions for a second life.

ENSURING RECYCLABILITY OF COMPONENTS

1. Designing for quick & easy disassembly and reducing the number of components.

2. Selecting the most recyclable materials.

3. Marking plastic parts for proper recycling stream.

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KnowledgeWorldwide Trends

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Some things are universal, like love, music and… work? Yes, work.While the work we do may be different, the way we work is often very similar regardless of industry, geography, company size or even job type.

World

More Crowded

The world is getting downright cozy, with the population growing even more than expected. By 2100, there will be 10.1 billion people, according to a new report released from the United Nations.

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Proving Space Matters

Scientists studying how architecture and design can influence mood, thoughts, and health have discovered that everything from the quality of a view to the height of a ceiling, from the wall color to the furniture, shapes how we think.

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Can you hear me now?

Though mobile service can still suck in Manhattan or Madrid, on remote Mount Everest you can now call home, check voicemail, or text. With more than 2 million more cell phone users every day, we’re more connected than ever, wherever we are.

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Airports as home?

As the world becomes more interconnected, airports are becoming cities and “cities may be places to leave from more than to live in,” speculates author Pico Iyer in Time magazine. Dubai International will have capacity for 75 million passengers by 2015, and Beijing Capital International offers a “global kitchen” with 72 food shops.

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Make way for the middle class

What’s more, says McKinsey, during the next decade the world’s middle class will double in proportion - from 20% today to 40% by 2020.

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Urban Shifting

Half of the world’s population lives in cities for the first time in history. Prosperity is shifting, too. Within the next 15 years, at least one-third of today’s top 600 cities, where businesses currently thrive, will drop off the list of world economic giants. They will be replaced by cities in the developing world, especially China, says the McKinsey Global Institute.

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Work

Intersection of work & life

People are social by nature. Even when working alone, they often seek to be around others. A well designed and healthy office can increase the performance by up to 36%. Social spaces offer workers the ability to socialize, collaborate and learn from each other in a more casual manner.

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Integrated Technologies

There is an increasing demand for video conference spaces and work environments that support the variety of technologies.Today’s work environments have to support new technologies and provide workers with easy access to power and data with effective cable management.

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Collaboration

Collaboration is often spontaneous and happens in spaces designed for one, resulting in discomfort for everyone. Workspaces should enable side-by-side collaboration, and provide settings and zones that promote easy content sharing for a range of group sizes.

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Mobility

Mobile workers often feel like visitors, losing productive time while searching for places to sit down and plug in. Mobile workers need easy access to people, information and technology. They need to ‘see and be seen’ in order to feel a sense of belonging.

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Worker

Morning Commute

You check your calendar, as you worry the date may have changed since you’ve been sitting in traffic. “If this line moves any slower, might time actually reverse itself?” you wonder. You scan the radio stations, hoping to find one that is actually playing music. Then it happens… a Zen moment. You become at peace with your surroundings. You make a commitment not to lose your patience. Don’t fight the traffic become one with it… after all, you’re almost to the office. Then you realize that you left your laptop on the kitchen counter.

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Failure to hit save

34,456 PERFECTLY WRITTEN WORDS
18 HOURS, 22 MINUTES AND
14 SECONDS
14 CUPS OF COFFEE
13 INCREDIBLE IDEAS
3 BRILLIANT QUOTES
AND 2 ASPIRIN
DOWN THE DRAIN

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Stapler

Will the staple go all the way through? It’s a big stack. It’s gonna be close. You’re goin’ for it! Stand up, lean into it and push with all your might.
Darn! So close. Ouch! That’s sharp!! Where’s that staple remover?
You think your weight may have shifted half-way through the push… this next try will be different.
Darn! So close again. You grab a binder clip and call it good.

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Noisy Cellphone

Your boss went on vacation for a week and decided to lock her cell phone in her drawer… but forgot to turn it off. A co-worker has decided to use her ring-tone to remind everyone that she likes to party like it’s 1999.

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Slideshow

Better get comfortable. I think I heard him say he has 156 slides. Good grief, do you think he could fit another word on that slide? Nice animated .gif file.
Do you think he designed that background all by himself? Whoa!! What the? That was one heck of a slide transition. Is he really going to read every slide word for word?”

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Paper Jam

Just what you need. It’s not even your paper jam. If there’s one thing that drives you crazy, it’s fixing another person’s paper jam. You open door A, which reveals sub-doors B, C and D. Then you slide toner E out and turn knob F to expose lever G which you flip up. Ah-ha… the jammed paper. You try to remove it but it rips. Now it’s really in there.Ouch! That thing was hot! That’s going to leave a mark. Meanwhile, co-workers line up behind you, cursing you for holding up their print jobs. “Nice one” they say.

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Pen

Famous for their ability to “seal the deal”, start new relationships… even end world wars, the pen is the very symbol of permanence, power and prestige. It’s respected so much it’s sometimes been decorated with jewels and precious metals.

Available with twist cap, click cap or lift cap option, this versatile gem is a symbol of eloquence and dignity... Until it explodes in your pocket. “Nice one” they say.

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