"How many hours do we spend in the office sitting?"
Founded right after the end of the Second World War, respected Japanese manufacturer Okamura (named after the city where it was founded: Yokohama) counts both as historical actor in the Good Design movement and as contemporary design brand whose products could be regarded almost as text-book definitions of what good design is. Having lost his job in aeroplane manufacturing, entrepreneurial Okamura founder Kenjiro Yoshihara started out in business in 1945, transferring his expert knowledge of steel to the fabrication of products large and small, from airplanes and automobiles, through outdoor furniture, to pots and pans.
“What all of these have in common,” explains Ayano Sando from Okamura’s International Sales and Marketing Division, “is a familiarity with steel and our passion for moving parts. Moving parts require complex technology, and a passion for technology has always been at the centre of Okamura’s craftsmanship.” You may not immediately think ‘moving parts’ when considering furniture, but then again Okamura isn't just your generic furniture manufacturer.
With a steadfast commitment to research at its core, the brand has since the early years made ergonomics a keystone of its design activity. Just as the human body is a compelling piece of engineering, not short on moving parts, so too are Okamura's office-chair designs, which set out, through their exemplary understanding of, as the company puts it, 'the relation between people and chairs', to both support the user's body while seated and moving through a range of different positions, and to actively encourage good posture.
An increasing body of research has been published that underscores what we, essentially, have always known: that our emotional states – that is, how we feel about and perceive ourselves and our abilities – is bound up to a large extent with our physical well-being. Recent studies have shown, moreover, that the adoption of certain postures produces chemicals in the body that make us more confident and alert. Okamura were early to recognise this interconnection and have established themselves as leaders in the field for developing seating products that optimise the nexus of bodily movement, comfort, concentration and safety.
With almost 70 years in business, Okamura is renowned as an office furniture manufacturer whom is constantly monitoring the changing needs of the workplace. Following Ayano Sando: “We always keep our eyes open to what workers want, and what they want today is to have choices. They want to choose how, when and where to work, based on what they have to do at any specific time. As a manufacturer we really need to respond to this.”
The quality and safety of Okamura’s products is entirely guaranteed by the company which conducts durability and performance tests in-house under the strictest standards.