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Humanscale Introduces Fourtis in Collaboration with Textile Designer Elizabeth Whelan

Living Product Challenge Compliant & Expertly Crafted, Fourtis Represents Next Wave of Performance Textiles

(February 14, 2019 - New York, NY) For its newest collaboration with award-winning textile designer Elizabeth Whelan, Humanscale introduces Fourtis, a versatile and sustainably-crafted performance textile. Inspired by the Latin word fortis, meaning strong, this fabric is the ultimate ratio of durability and flexibility thanks to a unique weave offering four-way stretch. This inventive construction allows Fourtis to closely conform to Humanscale’s ergonomic seat cushions so end-users can feel fully supported as they move in their chair. 

Sustainably manufactured to create a net positive impact, Fourtis is compliant with the Living Product Challenge, a rigorous framework for healthy and sustainable products from the International Living Future Institute. It also maintains industry-leading standards for performance without the use of a stain resistant finish, a prevalent practice in the furnishing industry that puts users into direct contact with toxic chemicals. For an overall healthier and more sustainable chair, Fourtis can be applied to Humanscale’s Smart Ocean task chair, a certified Living Product.

“When designing Fourtis, I focused on its intended outcome. The fabric needed to exhibit four-way stretch, have a blend of at least two colors, meet Grade 1 standards, and qualify for the Living Product Challenge,” shares Whelan. “Because of these diverse criteria, there really is more to this fabric, and most Humanscale fabrics, than meets the eye. I hope that with the of this inventive line, we’ll be able to move the market on what the future of fabric textile design will be.”

Whelan studies fabric with the same curiosity and ingenuity as Humanscale’s ergonomic designers who study the mechanics of form and movement. In the prototyping process, she found that while most crepe weaves create a crinkle texture, a satin base weave could create a smooth surface. The effect is a very small scale motif that offers a tailored look. Another subtle but impactful detail, Fourtis features a black warp yarn which sets up an energizing color relationship. Fourtis is available in a palette of earthen hues including Ash, Alaria, Black, Boysenberry, Clover, Granite, Hyacinth, Navy, Nimbus and Winterberry.

Fourtis joins the ranks of other high performance textiles developed for Humanscale by Elizabeth Whelan including Corde 4, Monofilament Stripe, Ginko, Silver Check, Pinstripe, Dash, Catena and Lotus. Like it’s counterparts, Fourtis serves as a fundamental element of the overall structure and integrity of any Humanscale chair with its timeless, functional design.

About Elizabeth Whelan

Elizabeth Whelan weaves innovation into the textiles she designs for industry. Coupling a refined aesthetic sense with a sophisticated proficiency in textile manufacturing processes, Whelan applies a futurist’s sensibility to fabrics that function as integral and beautiful elements of consumer products that are sold worldwide.

Central to Whelan’s professional achievements is her work for Humanscale’s chair designs, including the Freedom by the late Niels Diffrient, as well as a number of other innovative brands, like Nike and Tumi.

Leadimg cultural institutions and the textile industry have recognized Whelan’s work. Her fabrics are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. In 2015, ITMA Future Materials Awards honored her work as a finalist in three categories: Most Innovative Small Company, Best Innovation Sportswear and Outdoor Apparel, and Best Innovation Home Textiles. Most recently, in 2016, she was named a finalist in the Architizer A+ Awards for Materials: Textiles category. Whelan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Today Whelan and her assistants work in Portland, Maine.


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Media Contacts

Katie Bone / Katherine Smythe

Novità Communications

Katie@novitapr.com / Katherine@novitapr.com



About Humanscale

Humanscale is the leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance ergonomic products that improve the health and comfort of work life. Through leveraging new technology in functional yet minimal designs, Humanscale transforms traditional offices into active, intelligent workspaces. Committed to making a net positive impact on the earth as well as our customers, Humanscale offers award-winning products designed with a focus on function, simplicity and longevity. 

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