And what we found during this researhc – what we confronted ourselves in that studio was a mismatch between technology and furniture – and that exists to this day.
Neither side seems to care about the other, particularly. The technologists are trying to shift boxes and the furniture people are trying to get nice photographs, I think.
1984 – 1990
Peter and Brenda formed a working Practice after meeting at the Royal College of Art. During this time a series of ergonomic studies were undertaken in Italy in the Ettore Sottsass’ department of Olivetti. These were the first studies of workplace ergonomics of their kind, leading to the first products that reclaimed desk space for workers. ECC legislation followed in the late 1980’s to compel firms to implement ergonomics for workers.
“The technical evolution of office machinery in recent years has led to considerable change in office working conditions. The change has been even more radical by the introduction of the Video Display Unit. From the morphological point of view, the first generation of VDUs followed the rigid keyboard-machine pattern typical of the typewriter and calculator, even though there was an obvious change in the operator’s visual relationship with the machine…”
Olivetti – 1984
By 1985 this research resulted in the development of Gemini.
The world’s first articulating monitor support that lifted the visual display unit (V.D.U) off the desk surface, reducing neck strain and providing the user more desk space. Monitor arms are now considered an integral part of the workspace but back in 1985 this was a huge leap in terms of ergonomic working and making the technology conform to individual requirements.
“Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Gemini V.D.U arm offers 8″ (200mm) lift and 350″ swivel space with cable handling as standard. All designed with you in mind to avoid issues associated with V.D.U’s in the modern office.”
Extract from print advert
Gemini print advert circa 1985
1990 – 2000
Following the property crash of the late 1980’s Peter and Brenda were joined by architect Martyn Colebrook to form:
The designs pioneered by Peter and Brenda in the 80’s, along with their contacts in the financial sector, demonstrated that there was potential to start a business designing and manufacturing ergonomic technology support tools.
Colebrook Bosson Saunders forged new ground and pioneered workplace ergonomics with their award-winning portfolio of: monitor arms, cpu cradles, keyboard aides and footrests for a range of end-users including: Citibank, ESSO, Lloyds, Nationwide, KPMG and American Express.
Then in 1996, 6 years after Colebrook Bosson Saunders’ initial offering, there was a technology shift with the advent of the flat panel screen.
At Orgatec, Peter and Martyn reflected on how these new types of screens were changing worker styles and looked to develop a modular monitor arm system to cater for these new needs…
Proving that inspiration can come from anywhere, it was a windsurf board that lead to the idea for supporting flat screen monitors. While windsurfing with Martyn, Peter noticed that his boards’ mast and sail were supported by a rubber ‘O’ ring where mast and board met. From this realisation CBS designed Wishbone, the first ever flat screen monitor arm on the market.
This lateral approach to design has continued to enable Colebrook Bosson Saunders to create market firsts and award-winning designs which help drive human performance and improve user wellbeing.
“New technology doesn’t necessarily mean improvements. What it does mean is getting people working comfortably with the new technology…”
Founder / Architect