Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Acquires Contemporary Furniture Textiles for Humanscale Chairs

Pinstripe and Silver Check Mesh Textiles Created by Elizabeth Whelan Part of Permanent Collection


Martin Higgins

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NEW YORK  — Designed for Humanscale by the fabric futurist Elizabeth Whelan, the unique Silver Check and Pinstripe mesh fabrics have been specifically selected by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as exemplars of contemporary textiles.

Silver Check reflects the natural movements of the human body, and was created to be both resilient and beautiful, with enough strength and flexibility to be supportive. In 2005, Silver Check won a Design Distinction award from I.D. magazine. The idea of suspension, as illustrated by the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, informed and inspired Pinstripe, which is lightweight, yet conveys the strength and support of a much heavier mesh. Both mesh textiles can be used on Humanscale’s mesh-backed task chairs: Liberty, Diffrient World and Diffrient Smart.

Deputy Curatorial Director and Head of Textiles at Cooper-Hewitt Matilda McQuaid said, in a letter to Whelan about the inclusion of both Silver Check and Pinstripe, “They will help to tell an often overlooked angle of the story of furniture manufacturing—how textiles are integral to the structure of the chair.”

The acquisition of Silver Check and Pinstripe complements Cooper-Hewitt’s modern seating collection. By including these fabrics, the museum’s permanent collection continues to reflect Humanscale’s rich design innovations, as it also features the Liberty chair.

Whelan’s textiles can be viewed in Cooper-Hewitt’s online collection by visiting this link and typing “Elizabeth Whelan” into the search box.

About Elizabeth Whelan

Fabric futurist Elizabeth Whelan develops innovative and creative solutions in the textiles she designs. With clients such as Nike, Tumi, Spinneybeck and Humanscale, Whelan works with materials that range from linen to cutting-edge synthetic yarns used to design product-specific fabrics. Her upholstery and mesh fabrics have been recognized by various prestigious honors and museums, including the Design Distinction award, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

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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