Gresham launches Oscar

Gresham launches Oscar, a new signature task chair with unique interchangeable backrest

A TASK chair with a unique interchangeable backrest, a range of colours including orange, yellow and blue and product names such as Space, Blast, Horizon and Orbit all feature in Gresham’s new signature chair, launched at Clerkenwell Design Week.

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Making its debut at the company’s London showroom, the Oscar task chair is designed to break the mould of “austere” task chairs by allowing buyers to add their own personalities and colour schemes to the workplace through an affordable chair built for premium comfort and simplicity of use.

Oscar’s innovative interchangeable backrest cassette enables specifiers to switch between different colour frames and optional sprung headrests, as well three backrest materials including mesh, ergonomic polypropylene and upholstery.

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Designed in conjunction with furniture specialists Jones & Partners, the chair has been more than two years in the making.

Gresham’s Head of Product Design Karl Anderson said the company set out to create a stand-out task chair that broke away from traditional task chair designs while responding to changing trends in office work. With the rise of bespoke design, soft furnishings and “coffee-culture” work, Gresham believed task chairs were being left behind.

“We’ve considered everything in the design and production of Oscar,” he explained. “Materials, comfort, ease-of-use and assembly, design, styling, carbon emissions in production, sustainability and end-of-life recycling. We wanted a chair with multi-faceted features and benefits, something not available on the market.

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“When we looked at magazine articles we saw lots of austere photos and starkly-lit imagery. These didn’t look like chairs you would want to sit in for eight hours. We wanted something more accessible, a chair that would appeal to modern young professionals.”

Gresham Product Designer Steven Parkinson said the company used training shoe giant Nike’s product customisation offer as inspiration for Oscar’s colour and configuration options. “Like a Nike shoe you can choose colours, materials, even shoelace colour. We wanted to bring that idea of personalisation to an office furniture product not really associated with personality.

“Customers can choose from three colours for the frames and up to 20 colours for the mesh backrest, making for lots of permutations and an opportunity to add fresh colour to the workplace.”

Craig Jones, Director of Jones & Partners, said the Gresham brief had been a significant project and considerable attention to detail had been spent on ergonomics, lumbar support and ease of use.

By restricting the number of adjustments that can be made and focussing on comfort, Oscar removes the need for “tank-like” assemblies under the seat and keeps lines clean and simple.

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Craig said: “When we worked on the ergonomics of this chair we were determined to provide far more than a tick-box solution. Lumbar support in other chairs can be pretty flimsy but here we’ve been able to design an upholstered chair with lumbar support, and a polypropylene back made up of compression portions which move with the spine.”

Gresham is one of the largest independent designers and manufacturers of workspace furniture in the UK. The company operates from a 200,000sq ft office and factory on a 10-acre site in Greater Manchester and employs more than 250 people. Its office furniture is sold and installed around the world. Gresham will celebrate its 40th anniversary in November 2016.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys' experience as a furniture designer, along with her in-depth marketing knowledge, makes her uniquely placed to work with the BCFA as the Editor of Design Insider and run her marketing business, Method Communications.
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