ExpertEase: Humanscale’s Sergio Silva Talks Ergonomic Office Furniture

ergonomic chair
Photo by Marek Sikora.

“I always had a creative side,” shares Sergio Silva, who heads the design team at New York’s Humanscale, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance, ergonomic products that improve the health and comfort of work life. Today, he’s using his creativity, along with the technical expertise gained earlier as a machinist – experienced in 3D computer software and such – to design products that are “focused on function, impeccable user experience and visual appeal.”

Portuguese-born, Brooklyn-based, Pratt Institute-grad Silva, says, when asked if most people understand ergonomic design, “I think people are ultimately interested in being comfortable while they work, and the reality is that if you retain poor posture at your desk, or toil under improper lighting, you will not be comfortable for long. Given the increasing numbers of people busy at a desk at home – according to the US Census, 8 million Americans were doing that in 2017 – I think we’re seeing evermore awareness about ergonomics’ importance.”

ergonomic office furniture
Photo by Garth Gardner.

As to converting non-believers, “There’s only one way,” quips Silva, “have them try the product on the job. Once they’ve done this, they usually don’t need further convincing. From the earliest stages of a concept, we team up with the professional ergonomists at Humanscale, developing working prototypes, iterating and testing until we’re satisfied.”

The popularity of using ergonomically-correct office furniture in the home is a new trend he’s noticed and is addressing with pieces that blend into a residential environment. “We hold that the best designs are rooted in purpose and function,” explains Silva. “If a design solves a functional problem as simply and elegantly as possible, the resulting form will have a beauty that is honest and timeless.” Pointing to his new Liberty and Smart chairs, he says both are good examples of products that seamlessly integrate into a variety of spaces throughout home or office.


Humanscale’s Liberty (left) and Smart (right) chairs.

While designing new furnishings for today’s evolving workspace – many now exuding a homey-like ambiance – Silva is also set for next year’s release of seating that can be incorporated anywhere, from kitchen to living room, commercial or residential.

Bringing creative solutions to individual and societal challenges, Sergio Silva, IF Design Award winner of 2019, is one designer we’ll be hearing lots more about.

For more home office inspiration, check out these seven spaces

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