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Niels Diffrient

Niels Diffrient

USA (1928-2013)
Headshot of designer.

One of the century's preeminent American designers, Niels Diffrient, has endeavored throughout his storied career to emphasize the "human factors" of industrial design, using ingenuity and intuition to bring consumer products that meet their needs. His emphasis on meeting human needs was codified in the three-volume Humanscale, an influential sourcebook for designers that examined the movements and dimensions of the human body. From his early work with Eero Saarinen and Marco Zanuso to the present, Diffrient's integrity and vision have been recognized in dozens of awards and honorary citations, and he has served as designer or consultant to the Fortune 500's leading companies. His quest to create workplace environments fitted to the needs of their users continues unabated with the introduction of the "Freedom," a high performance task chair that senses the weight of the user and automatically adjusts to provide optimal support without an array of knobs and levers.

Diffrient has designed every type of equipment, as well as computers, exhibits, trucks, airplane interiors and corporate identity programs. He has also been broadly published in the field of design and human factors, most notably as co-author of the three-volume compendium, Humanscale. Additionally, Niels spent time as adjunct Professor of Design at UCLA for eight years and was a visiting critic at the Yale University School of Architecture for two years.

In the field of furniture design, most notably ergonomic seating, Niels has won a total of 24 awards, including two Best of Show and 10 Gold and Top awards. A holder of more than 20 mechanical and design patents for his furniture design both in America and abroad, Diffrient has also received honors from many organizations including the American Institute of Architecture, the Industrial design Society of America and a honorary doctorate from Art Center College. In 1996, Niels was selected to be among ID Magazine's Top 40 Design Innovators and received the Chrysler Award for Innovation.

To read a Design Notes interview with the designer Niels Diffrient, click here.

Niels Diffrient

Freedom® Task Chair with Headrest in Vicenza Leather
Freedom Task Chair - Vicenza Leather
Freedom® Saddle Seat in Vicenza Leather
Freedom® Task Chair in Vellum
Freedom® Task Chair with Headrest in Vellum
Freedom® Saddle Seat in Vellum
Freedom® Task Chair with Headrest in Prima Leather
Freedom® Saddle with Extra-High Piston in Prima Leather
Freedom® Saddle Seat in Prima Leather
Freedom® Saddle with Extra-High Piston in Vellum
Freedom® Task Chair in Prima Leather
Liberty™ Task Chair
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