Steelcase Inc., based in Grand Rapids, MI, recently received a Gold Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for its Think(R) chair, an environmentally sustainable seating product that adjusts itself to individual user’s needs. The IDEAs are co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America and BusinessWeek magazine and recognize products that exemplify excellence in design.
“The Industrial Designers Society of America recognizes those products that were able to tune into the hearts and the minds of the customer, not just into market trends, and deliver smart products that reframed entire categories. In light of this, Steelcase is honored to receive this prestigious award for the Think chair,” said James P. Hackett, president and CEO of Steelcase Inc. “Winning the Gold IDEA is a testament to the innovative set of research and design principles that Steelcase incorporates into its product development process.”
“With this chair, there is more focus on the function than features,” said Carl Magnusson, IDSA IDEA judge and founder of Carl Gustav Magnusson Design. “The upholstery speaks of expected comfort, the back speaks of expected support. It is a more dignified citizen in the office landscape.”
After three years of research and development, Steelcase developed the Think chair to have both a “brain” and a “conscience.” The chair “thinks” for the user, anticipating user needs and reacting to them by automatically adjusting itself, moving fluidly with the body and providing support in proportion to body weight. solution to benefit the end user.
The Think chair also conforms to the highest environmental standards, taking into account cradle-to-cradle design and life cycle. It is comprised of up to 41% recycled content, is 99% recyclable by weight, and can be disassembled for recycling in minutes with common hand tools. Additionally, the Think chair was the first office furniture product to receive McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry’s (MBDC) new Cradle to Cradle(TM) Product Certification. This certification recognizes Think for its implementation of ecologically intelligent materials and cradle-to-cradle product design. Steelcase and MBDC collaborated to ensure the Think chair uses only materials deemed by MBDC as safe to the environment.
This year’s IDEA entries included categories as diverse as consumer electronics, housewares, transportation, sporting goods, furniture and medical and scientific equipment. Judging criteria for each entry focused on five areas of industrial design excellence: design innovation, benefit to the user, benefit to the client/business, ecological responsibility, and appropriate aesthetics and appeal. This year’s honors included 27 Gold, 38 Silver and 41 Bronze awards.