While workplace culture has undeniably evolved over the past several years, so too has its look. By now, the laptop class has moved on from improvised work-from-home setups to something more purpose-built, while co-working hubs and proper offices have embraced updated interiors to reassert their identity and help entice in-person attendance. It’s this convergence of form, function, and productivity that has primed Vitra’s newly launched ACX chair, designed by Italian architect Antonio Citterio, to succeed.
There may be differing perspectives on where to work, but anyone who knows Vitra by name can likely agree that comfort, versatility, and sleekness of form all matter. A smart, hidden hydraulic system automatically adjusts to the user’s height and weight—“giving you comfort right away,” Citterio says—and without all the troublesome fiddling with buttons and levers. Vitra positions ACX as a flexible-use and adaptive chair, not solely an office perch, and its reduced dimensions impart a modern feel. It is, very deliberately, not modeled after executive club chairs of yesteryear. “It is a warm, cozy chair that does not have the overwhelming presence that you think of when you imagine a large office chair,” Citterio says.
Yet to the man who created it, ACX’s greatest strength is also its most invisible: “As it happens often in architecture too, the thinking for ACX started from the end, from the death of the product,” Citterio says. “One of the most important factors in the design process was the use of recycled materials, that, in turn, can be recycled when the product is no longer in use.” The chair’s textile components are made of post-consumer recycled and 3-D-knitted polyester, making glue, polyurethane, and fabric waste obsolete. The use of as few different components as possible makes the chair easier to maintain and repair, and, according to Citterio, ensure it can be “disassembled, and then recycled or disposed of in a responsible manner.”