'Our way of life is inflicting damage on the natural environment. A designer's key concern should be to modify the destruction of the environment.' -Robin Day
There are so many different elements that designers consider when designing new products, including aesthetics, ergonomics, function, materials, manufacturing processes and environmental impacts.
Designers have the difficult task of producing ideas which are innovative and set their products against the rest, whether it be through the experimentation with new materials or providing a vastly different aesthetic design. They are always looking for ways to drive the design world forward.
How do designers move design and manufacturing processes forward?
One particular example of how an invention paved the way within the design world was the invention of the Polyprop chair. I know that these chairs don't look like much to look at, but they were extremely influential to the design world when they were first introduced.
During the 1960s, Robin Day developed a one piece moulded polypropylene seat, which combined relatively new materials, new manufacturing technologies and had great potential for mass production. The product is designed for its cost effectiveness and extreme durability rather than its aesthetic appeal, but if you have a look in public places you will find examples of the Polyprop chair everywhere.
When it was launched, the product was received brilliantly- particularly by the public sector; over 14 million Polyprops have been sold worldwide, and are still used consistently today. The polypropylene chairs and bench systems are most often seen in schools, canteens, hospitals, restaurants and train stations due to their extreme durability and functionality.
Given today's current climate, there is an immense pressure upon designers and manufacturers to produce ideas which are environmentally friendly and sustainable. One of the most recent achievements in terms of environmentally friendly furniture is that of the 'Is' chair.
The 'Is' chair was designed in 2008 as a solution to the need for an ergonomic, affordable chair but it went a step further- as well as being designed to accommodate its user comfortably for long periods of time, the chair is 100% recyclable. The chair is composed from 65% recycled materials, and comes with all of the mod cons you would expect from a good ergonomic operator chair. These include:
- Height adjustable arms as standard.
- Width adjustable arms option.
- Standard black base / polished base option.
- Black moulded back / fully upholstered.
- Synchro (with forward tilt mechanism) / dynamic mechanism.
- Headrest option.
The creators of the 'is chair have now launched a new version of the 'is' chair with a mesh back. The special mesh back provides ultimate lumbar support for the user whilst also offering complete ventilation.
The low environmental impact of these wonderful chairs makes them extremely useful within office environments. They are remarkably easy to use with fully adjustable features, simple to refurbish if you want a change, and can be fully recycled when you want to get rid of them. This would prevent an enormous amount of office waste from ending up in a landfill.