Answer. Thoughtfully flexible. It’s about time for a new installment to the Green Office segment. So far, I’ve mentioned the Leap + Think chairs, the Liege Desk, and office supplies from The Green Office. Enter: the MBDC Silver Cradle to Cradle Certified, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified Steelcase Answer®. The Steelcase Answer panel workstation is the first C2C Certified powered workstation for the contract furniture industry. First, Answer uses responsible materials. Workstation components consist of panels, wood work surfaces, overhead storage and floor-based storage. There is absolutely no PVC used in its construction. Second, Cradle to Cradle certification requires product design that contemplates what happens when the product is not longer useful for its intended purpose. There’s a focus on being able to recycle or safely compost the materials. Adhesives are eliminated, where possible, and recyclable parts are clearly marked. This is a big deal considering Answer is one of the best selling systems products in the world. I bet you could get the Answer workstation penciled into your tenant improvements agreement, right? Via PRNewswire.
In the last "Green Office" segment here on Jetson Green, I talked about the merits of investing in a Think chair from Steelcase for your office. Need a desk? Some of you may shut down purely at the price tag ($2,200), but there’s a price premium for style + sustainability. You can find the Liege Desk, designed by Jeffrey Bernett + Nicholas Dodziuk, exclusively at Design Within Reach. The desk uses sustainable chestnut or oak veneers and the stainless steel is finish-free. The wood varnish is non-toxic and low in volatile organic compounds. Measuring H 30" x W 60" x D 30", the Liege Desk accommodates storage that can be placed on the right or left, depending on your orientation. It’s a pretty good looking desk solution and would definitely go well with the Think chair. Via Collin Dunn at Treehugger.
My first installment to the "Green Office" segment is about the office chair. I walked into a friend’s downtown office (a lawyer) and he had some beat up, patchy furniture inside. I asked him what the deal was and he responded that it was all the firm provided. That gets me, big-time. For all you professionals out there, especially young professionals, your job is your domain and if the bossman isn’t providing it, do it yourself. My credo, dress and office like the person who’s job you want to have. So I prefer CEO-style all the way. If clients come in my office, they’ll see CEO-style. Compare that to the cubicle next door and they’ll form an impression about your position in the firm. You’ve got to be a rainmaker, so this is all about looking the part.
As far as office chairs go, there seems to be a race to ergonomics–"Ooh, nice, is that so and so’s chair?" "Did corporate get that for ya?" "How much does one of those run?" You get the drift. Steelcase, Inc. makes this entire process very easy, actually, modern + green easy. They have two chairs that are Cradle to Cradle™ Certified Silver: Think™ + Leap®. I’m going to focus on Think. Think also received the BusinessWeek 2006 Gold IDEA award, IIDEX Sustainable Design Gold award, NeoCon Editor’s Choice Award, and the Red Dot Award for Product Design (Germany). But forget accolades, here’s where sustainability meets the chair.
First, cradle to cradle for this chair means the company considered what goes into the chair, how it is made, and what happens to the chair when it is no longer a chair. The chair is designed to be highly recyclable + safe for environmental health. Second, the chair is up to 99% recyclable by weight + up to 44% recycled content. Third, disassembly takes about 5 minutes and Steelcase has set up the structure for customers to participate in recycling of their used chair. Fourth, the chair is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified. But if this is too green for you, there’s more.
Think is comfortable too. It has the adjustable arms, pneumatic seat height, and innovative back "flexors" that track and respond fluidly to your natural weight and movements. So not only is this chair environmentally conscious, it’s smart, too. I think an added benefit to the chair is that one can order the thing online and have it shipped FedEx ground-style for free. So, if you’re tired of that standard office stuff and want to make a change, I’d get one of these Steelcase chairs shipped straight to the office.
This isn’t just some ordinary, run-of-the-mill furniture, slapped together with no thought for the environment, comfort, or design. Andy Gregg founded Bike Furniture Design in the 90s with the seminal, original bike chair. Since then, his collection has grown to include bar stools, high-quality tables, loveseats, and more chairs. While his furniture is made primarily from recycled steel and aluminum bicycle rims, handlebars, and frames, his collection has grown to include parts from other transportation industries such as trains and planes.
Again, this stuff isn’t slapped together, it’s pretty darn close to artwork. Upholstery options include leather, rubber, cork, clear + colored acrylic, and vinyl. And his business is starting to reach a tipping point. In 2004, revenue picked up enough to allow Gregg to focus on the business. Growing demand has pushed him to explore the use of new materials, and he keeps coming up with great pieces. This can be attributed to his art and mechanics background. So if you have an idea in mind, I’m sure he’d be able to crank it out (no pun intended).