The Freedom Chair by Humanscale was designed by acclaimed industrial designer Niels Diffrient and introduced in 1999. It is an interesting contrast to the Aeron chair in that it takes a different approach to attempting to solve similar problems. It remains essentially a pad oriented chair, but perhaps takes that model to its ultimate expression. Lets look at its range of features to see how it does this.
• The Freedom chair is supposed to provide a universal fit, meaning that the adjustability of the pad positions allows the chair to actually change its dimension enough to accommodate people of different frames sizes and proportions. And to the best I can tell this is true. The seat pad has a large range of forward and back adjustment, and the back and head rest have a large vertical range. It should always be possible to have your chair properly aligned with your back, neck, and knees.
• The chair offers easy to adjust pad positions. The adjustment mechanisms appear to work with a simple lever press and slide. No turning threaded adjustments, or un-clamping/reclamping to set positions. This makes it more inviting to do small adjustments to your pad on the fly, refreshing your seating position, and keeping you productive.
• The Freedom chair appears very friendly to recline positioning. Their mechanism adjusts the seat/back relationship on recline opening up your body position, as opposed to chairs that simply tilt the entire seat back. This makes for a more natural and comfortable recline.
• The head pad option offers recline support. Its no fun to lean back if your neck muscles have to support your head. Yet when you are seated upright you don't want the head support in your way. The head pad behaves perfectly here.
• The arm adjustments are pantograph based, allowing them to pivot up and down while keeping the pad level. The arms also move with back pad on recline keeping their relationship to your shoulders. They also offer advanced adjustable arms which can rotate inward to support your arms closer to your side.
• Finally there are gel pad options for arms and seat pad. Anybody who has used gel based shoe pads, or cyclists with gel based bicycle seats knows how good this material is for warding off pressure points. Good for the arms I think, but on the seat it makes me think it may be too much like sitting on a plastic bag!
There is much more information about the chair, and finish options, and a very auto like chair builder interface, on the Humanscale site.