After five years in development and with four decades of expertise in dynamic seating, office furniture manufacturer Wilkhahn is presenting its innovative, three-dimensional dynamic office chair concept. For the first time, ON responds to demands long since made by leading healthcare professionals and ergonomists. ON gives our bodies the freedom to sit the way they want and can – and maintain their balance at the same time. At the core of the innovative concept lies Trimension®, synchro-supporting three dimensional kinematics that exactly follows the knee and hip joints. It activates and encourages entirely natural movement during office work, without tiring the body. And the chair’s aesthetic appeal has not been forgotten. This new dimension of movement is of course integrated into a design that is exceptional for its clarity, quality and understated touch.
Meeting of the ON developer team and prototype
In the realms of architecture and interiors, office chairs provide particular challenges all of their own. After all, complex functional, healthbased and aesthetic issues have to be harmonised and applied to the interior design and architectural language in question. In the industry, Wilkhahn virtually stands alone for interpreting highly complex demands to produce effortless, timeless and durable products.
Some 30 years ago, Klaus Franck and Werner Sauer designed the legendary FS line, the classical office chair for dynamic seating. And 15 years later the two designers set the next benchmark with the Modus range and its covered backrest, clever ecological design concept and minimum usage of materials. Once again Wilkhahn is turning a new chapter in office chair history that is set to become another international milestone. The office chair range ON, developed and created with the design company wiege, defines the new dimension in better office seating.
From the sketch to the final product...
...in different versions.
Modern research into health advocates moving our bodies as often and in as many different ways as possible. Avoidance tactics, as well as adhering to standards and regulations are no longer the order of the day. Today, research recommends fostering natural control over our bodies and focusing on a proactive attitude to our lives. For over 30 years, office chairs have followed the principle of mechanically-driven, two-dimensional scissor-action ergonomics. Three-dimensional alternatives such as seating balls, sprung stools or chair designs with sideways tilting seats remained also-rans. Because these products are instable, our bodies constantly have to keep their balance. When used constantly, these alternatives tire and even over-tax our bodies – quite apart from the fact that these health contraptions are hardly attractive looking. As a result, the basic principle of ON was to develop a chair that combined three-dimensional freedom of movement and optimal support to the body with top design.
From scissor-action ergonomics to natural dynamic seating
Sketches of various seating positions
The purpose of the new movement concept is not just to provide axial forwards, backwards and sideways movements, but to combine these as rotational movements. Over five years, Wilkhahn engineers developed innovative kinematics for synchro-combined, three-dimensional seat and backrest movements. Trimension® consists of the integrated interaction of two swing plates that are just as supple as thighs, with an extremely flexible seat and backrest design (Flexframe®). The pivotal sections’ positions and scope of movement follow the knee and hip joints. Consequently, it goes without saying that a completely new and natural flow of movement is encouraged. Thanks to the dual mechanics, elasticity and geometry of the materials, the body’s centre of gravity automatically stays between the pivotal sections and therefore in perfect balance. Prof. Dr. Ingo Froböse from the Centre for Health accompanied and verified the development procedure. "This office chair stimulates a new range of natural postures and movement in seating that activates the entire body. You could say that ON teaches seating how to walk".
Designs of the back rest
Aesthetic appeal and ease of use as a new dimension in health
Current health studies, by for example the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Sport University Cologne, now scientifically confirm what designers and architects have always stood up for. They have always maintained that aesthetic aspects have a direct impact on people's feeling of well-being and performance. Because psychological considerations directly influence the biochemical make-up of metabolic processes. Seating contraptions that call to mind medical equipment and skeleton designs, can hamper the positive, intuitive and natural approach to controlling our own bodies. Incorporating sitting problems into the design of the chair becomes a part of the problem and is nothing less than a warning about back pain, therefore becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. So first rate design is much more than just nice to have, but a key health factor per se.
A closer look at the detail
Similarly to all Wilkhahn ranges, ON’s design turns its functional aspects into a matter of course. The international well-known design company wiege has produced a design that integrates clearly obvious movement functions into the swivel plates. ON offers clarity, space and appeal. ON immediately conveys trust, assurance, value and comfort which is underscored by the enclosed shape of the die-cast aluminium swing plates. The chair offers scope for different postures and the backrest covered on both sides creates a sense of consistency. Form follows intuitive handling. By just pressing two buttons and the integrated, adjustment system for regulating your own personal counterpressure (4.5 rotations for a 45 – 120 kg weight range) the office chair is immediately ready to go. Your body and the chair will manage all the rest. ON is at our bodies’ call, so that our minds stay on the job. The design is understated and therefore matches different interiors very well.
Processes of prototyping
Impressions of ON
An extensive range for one-stop solutions ON is available in a broad range of models with three backrest heights and three types of upholstery. As a result, all swivel chair areas in a company, from the reception to the executive board, can be catered for in equally high aesthetic and ergonomic quality. The wide range of designs to choose from, with finishes, covers and colours, as well as matching four-legged and cantilever chairs, ensure co-ordinated and coherent design in offices, but also in meeting and conference rooms. The concept implements the simplest, integrated solution conceivable and does not just reduce aesthetic complexity but also the range of parts required. The combination of state-of-the-art design and manufacturing processes produces an office chair that is extremely good value.
to the Wilkhahn collection