Long-term readers will remember that not long after I moved up to Manchester (five years ago now!), I swapped my old clunky office chair for a sleek – and incredibly aesthetically pleasing – Liberty task chair from Humanscale.
I’ve always believed that investing in a high quality ergonomic chair is an absolute must if you work from home, and its safe to say that being completely housebound throughout the pandemic has only strengthened my love and appreciation for my custom Humanscale office chair!
Its found a place in four different home office set-ups since I acquired it; first in my flat in Salford Quays, then in our little Warrington two-bed for lockdown no.1, and now in two different office spaces in our new house. Having spent the first 18 months in our current home with my office located in the first floor box room, we’ve recently had a rejig and moved my office/studio space upstairs into what had previously been the second floor guest room. A much bigger space, that gets the best light in the house for the majority of the day!
Ever since that first lockdown in our old flat, when my boyfriend came home to announce he would now be sharing my tiny office space in our spare bedroom for the foreseeble, he’s coveted my Humanscale chair. In fact, on numerous occasions I was forced out of our “shared” office to work at the kitchen table because he had an afternoon of calls lined up (and I cannot concentrate on my own work properly with someone in full conversation right next to me). And every time that happened, he’d nab my chair for his own.
That’s the beauty of a Humanscale chair though; it’s engineered to automatically adjust to whoever sits in it, instantly accommodating each user regardless of size and weight. The intelligent mechanism-free recline uses the laws of physics and the sitter’s weight to automatically provide the perfect amount of support through the full range of recline, allowing a user to change postures effortlessly throughout the day without the need for manual adjustments.
When we moved houses – specifically so we could have separate offices, and not have to work on top of one another anymore – Luis was incredibly upset that he would have to go back to using his old office chair every day, and since then has pretty much complained daily about the fact his chair was far less comfy than mine… until now!
Enter the Liberty Ocean office chair, with the same minimalist charm and versatility in both style and function as my older model, while building on its Net Positive impact.
Designed by Niels Diffrient, each Liberty Ocean chair incorporates nearly 0.9kg (2 lbs.) of recycled fishing net, repurposing material which is widely regarded as the most harmful type of ocean plastic for the damage discarded nets do to the delicate ocean ecosystems and marine animals that inhabit them.
The Liberty Ocean is a key product in Humanscale’s drive to create products that leave the world better off, having been the first company ever to offer products that are certified climate, energy and water positive. And it’s not just a single Humanscale product that holds a certified net positive accreditation; there are 26 different Net Positive products in their catalogue to date, which means that any time one of these products is made, the planet is measurably better off.
Humanscale’s design studio abides by the philosophy that good design achieves more with less, placing sustainability of both design and materials at the heart of everything they do, solving functional problems as simply and elegantly as possible while consuming less of the earth’s limited resources. All of their products are audited and validated by The International Living Future Institute, under their Living Product Challenge; the world’s most advanced product sustainability standard.
The framework encourages manufacturers to create products that are healthy, inspiring and give more than they take across their life cycles, organised into 7 performance areas:
- Place: Restoring a healthy coexistence with site and the natural environment
- Water: Creating products that operate within the water balance of the manufacturing site and are net positive throughout their life cycle.
- Energy: Manufacturing processes that rely on current solar income and are net positive throughout the product life cycle.
- Materials: Supporting a circular and regenerative economy by creating products that use healthy and safe inputs, and eliminating concepts of waste.
- Health & Happiness: Optimizing the health of products and creating environments that promote psychological well-being.
- Equity: Supporting a just and sustainable world.
- Beauty: Celebrating design that uplifts the human spirit.
Of course, having a high quality ergonomic chair in your home office space can be a huge investment, but it is one that in my opinion is hugely worth it to your overall wellbeing due to the impact it can have on your body and general health over time.
So when you factor in the sustainability credentials of the Liberty Ocean as well, it’s definitely the home office chair I recommend each time I’m asked – based upon my own personal experience using the Liberty Task for past four years and the improvement I’ve seen in my posture as a result. Gone are the days of lower back pain or severe tension between my shoulder blades, and I feel confident that my back is well supported now matter which position I adopt to complete a task.
I credit Liberty’s mesh back – formed by combining three panels of non-stretch mesh material in the same way a tailor combines multiple pieces of fabric to create a shirt – for my confidence in the support offered by my chair. And because the chair has no manual adjustments and features Humanscale’s weight-sensitive recline, you can easily switch positions and still feel perfectly supported and comfortable.
I asked Luis to share his thoughts on his new chair (having used it in his office for the past month) and he said, “After coveting Kate’s chair for so long, I love my new Humanscale chair! My work requires spending many hours sitting in front of the computer, and having the proper support on my back was very important.”
“After switching to the Liberty Ocean chair I can tell my posture has significantly improved, and I feel support in all the right places now. Not only does the chair look smart in my office, but I also enjoy how smooth and quiet it rolls on the floor and how easily I can adjust the armrest to suit different tasks.”
Humanscale have showrooms in both Clerkenwell (London) and central Manchester, where you can try out their selection of home office chair models for yourself (as well as at locations worldwide). Making the decision to invest in a premium quality chair for your home office is one I feel confident you won’t regret, given the huge positive impact it will have on your day-to-day wellbeing and long-term health.
If you are considering making the investment, there are a few things you should make sure to look for, regardless of the chair you are considering.
- seat height (and ability to adjust)
- seat depth
- recline tension (look for one that is counterbalanced)
- armrest height (and ability to adjust)
- backrest adjustment (if the chair doesn’t already have an integrated lumbar support)
If you have any further questions, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!
This post is in collaboration with Humanscale, who have provided the Ocean Chair for the purpose of this review post. All thoughts and opions are, as always, my own. All photography © Kate Baxter.