An office chair that focuses on the essentials again
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An office chair that focuses on the essentials again

Pia Seidel
Zurich, on 20.06.2022

To design a chair for the future, Swiss office furniture manufacturer Giroflex looked to the past. The result feels soft as a cloud, is ergonomic and looks good doing it.

"Where was it all this time?", I ask myself when I first see the "Giroflex 150" at the Milan Furniture Fair. The chair is a hybrid of a dining table and office chair. One that is finally not as clunky, artificial and uncharitably designed as most models on the market. The answer to my question is that it has always been there. On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Swiss brand dug through the archives and reinterpreted an old design.

Neu aufgelegt: Der «Giroflex 150» gleicht einem Klassiker.
Neu aufgelegt: Der «Giroflex 150» gleicht einem Klassiker.

I would love to test it right away in my home office, just like the Capisco or Trendoffice office chair. But first, a first impression will have to suffice.

A look into the past

The "Giroflex 150" desk chair is the result of a collaboration between Giroflex, the Swiss design studio Big-Game and the Japanese woodworking specialist Karimoku New Standard (KNS). It is inspired by the "Holson" series of wooden office chairs designed for Giroflex in the 1950s by German designer Arno Votteler. Big-Game was particularly taken with it because "every major touch point of the Holson is made of wood and shaped for optimal comfort. It was a chair clearly designed to last, made of materials that have aged with grace over time."

These characteristics paired with new features were to be combined in the "Giroflex 150" design. That's why Big-Game worked with KNS, one of their longtime partners who specializes in Japanese wood joinery. The KNS team used the wood of slender, young trees that are considered waste and used specially developed technology to make it a suitable material for furniture construction.

Der «Giroflex 150» entsteht aus junger japanischer Eiche, die für gewöhnlich nicht als Möbelmaterial gilt.
Der «Giroflex 150» entsteht aus junger japanischer Eiche, die für gewöhnlich nicht als Möbelmaterial gilt.
Die einzelnen Teile sind nahtlos miteinander verbunden.
Die einzelnen Teile sind nahtlos miteinander verbunden.
Alle Kanten sind abgerundet und samtig weich.
Alle Kanten sind abgerundet und samtig weich.

First impression: less is more

Although I expect the wood to feel hard and the chair immobile when I first try it out, the opposite is true. The "high-touch quality," as the manufacturer calls it, makes the surface as soft as silk and makes me feel like I'm sitting on clouds. Apart from the gas pressure spring for adjusting the height of the seat, Big-Game has designed the "Giroflex 150" without the adjustment options typical of modern office chairs. Instead, a special mechanism makes the wooden chair feel anything but rigid to me when I move. "There is a tilt point under the seat and another under the backrest that uses the sitter's body weight to create balance and adjust to different body positions," the Brand representative explains to me on site.

Dank Kipppunkten reagiert das Designstück auf Bewegungen der Sitzenden.
Dank Kipppunkten reagiert das Designstück auf Bewegungen der Sitzenden.
Ausserdem ist der Stuhl höhenverstellbar.
Ausserdem ist der Stuhl höhenverstellbar.

In addition to the comfortable feel of the seat, the natural look of the "Giroflex 150" appeals to me. It cuts a good figure in a work environment like the open-plan office - but an even better one at home. Thanks to its simple design, it can sit next to ordinary chairs at the dining table without looking like a foreign object. Perfect, then, if you don't have an extra workstation set up and want the benefits of an ergonomic chair. A design I've been missing all these years before. Actually, I always thought that only in fashion everything comes back. But I'm glad that even in the furniture sector, the tried and true is being brought out again.

Ausstellung: Gallery Assab One, Milan Designweek 2022
Ausstellung: Gallery Assab One, Milan Designweek 2022

PS: Since the chair will only be available in a limited edition, you have to be quick if you like it as much as I do. It will only be produced 150 times and can be pre-ordered here.

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«There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I believe in the latter.»
– Albert Einstein


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