Niels Diffrient’s designs are grounded in the philosophy that form follows function. His work has spanned generations, consistently looking past trends to reinvent the tools we use for daily living.
With an academic foundation in design and architecture and a degree from Cranbrook Academy, Diffrient channels his knowledge of engineering, architecture, and human factors into the creation of highly functional and aesthetically timeless designs.
From his early work with the studios of Eero Saarinen, Marco Zanuso, and Henry Dreyfuss to his current work with Humanscale, Diffrient’s visionary talent has been widely recognized. Included among his many honours are the 2002 National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and the 1999 Chrysler Design Award. In recent years, Diffrient had focused his energies on designs for the office environment, particularly seating — a category in which he has pioneered numerous breakthroughs, from pneumatic cylinders for seat height adjustment to weight-activated automatic recline.