Humanscale's Diffrient World chair was designed by Niels Diffrient, who also designed the firm's popular Freedom and Liberty chairs. It was introduced in 2009 and has already won several prestigious design awards. In the words of one reviewer, this chair "takes ergonomic seating from the realm of high-tech back down to classic simplicity." The Diffrient World chair is made from only eight major parts and weighs less than 25 pounds. It is almost entirely self-adjusting, and is made from 95 percent recyclable materials. The backrest pivots with the user, so your back is never in a static position. Armrests are not included with the basic model of the chair but can be added; they are attached to the backrest and pivot and/or recline with it. The Diffrient World chair carries a 15-year warranty. If you'd rather spend less for a self-adjusting chair, reviewers praise the Herman Miller Setu (*Est. $580).
We found short reviews of the Diffrient World chair in Interior Design magazine and on Red Dot Online, where the chair is featured among those that have won major design awards. Unplggd.com, Contract magazine, About.com and Wired have single-product reviews of the Diffrient World chair, but the reviewers have not tried it out yet. One reviewer who has writes a review for the retail site SitBetter.com. We found no user reviews, since the chair is so new to the market.
1. Interior Design magazine
Interior Design magazine chooses the best products introduced in 2009, based on evaluations by designers and architects. The Diffrient World chair is one of three office chairs to receive a Merit Award. The brief write-up notes that "with just eight major parts and two manual controls, it's the world's simplest high-performance task chair."
Review: Best of the Year 2009 -- Seating, Contract/Task, Editors of Interior Design magazine, Dec. 1, 2009
2. Red Dot Online
The Humanscale Diffrient World chair wins a prestigious Best of the Best award in the 2010 Red Dot international design competition. In their review of the chair, Red Dot editors say that like a chameleon, the Diffrient World changes to adapt to each person who sits in it. They explain that it does this "via patented form-sensing mesh in the backrest and innovative recline action that functions without a mechanism. The intelligent design 'reacts' to weight and provides ideal resistance and support for each specific sitter while contouring itself to the shape of the body."
Review: Red Dot Design Award: Best of the Best 2010, Editors of Red Dot Online
Gregory Han says he likes the Diffrient World chair's "airy mesh design" and notes that although it weighs only 25 pounds, it's rated to support up to 300 pounds. Han also describes the chair's "simplified and auto-adapting mesh-lumbar support system." However, his comments are not based on any hands-on testing.
Review: It's a Diffrient World: Humanscale Diffrient World Task Chair, Gregory Han, July 12, 2010
4. Contract magazine
Reviewer Jennifer Busch describes the features of the Diffrient World chair. She also interviews Niels Diffrient, who designed the Diffrient World chair. She says this chair represents an extension of the concepts behind Diffrient's earlier designs -- Humanscale's Freedom and Liberty chairs -- and that all three chairs reflect a "less is more" philosophy.
Review: Focus: Keeping It Simple, Sustainable, Jennifer Busch, May 14, 2009
About.com furniture guide Abe Abbas notes that the Diffrient World chair has won a Best of the Best award from Red Dot, as well as awards from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), IDEX/NeoCon Canada (a trade association that sponsors an annual trade fair for contract furniture), and Interior Design magazine. Outstanding features of the Diffrient World chair are also described. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Humanscale's Diffrient World Chair Wins Red Dot Award, Abe Abbas, March 19, 2010
Reviewer Bruce Sterling begins by saying that chair designer Niels Diffrient is "such a titan of industrial design that I feel not one whiff of embarrassment in posting his product ads wholesale!" He then posts the Humanscale press release about the Diffrient World chair verbatim, inserting his comments -- all positive. This review is witty and informative, though admittedly biased.
Review: World's Greatest Chair Designer Has Designed a Brand-New Chair, Bruce Sterling, June 13, 2009
SitBetter.com is a retail site that maintains a related blog with reviews of some office chairs. This reviewer, who tried the Diffrient World chair at the NeoCon annual trade fair, says this chair doesn't provide enough back support for his needs. Despite this, he says the chair is extremely comfortable.
Review: Office Chair Review: Humanscale Diffrient World Ergonomic Task Chair, "Alec", July 20, 2009