By using furniture, the human being becomes a part of the system known as the anthropotechnic system. The elements of this system are as follows: the animate part, so the human body, and the inanimate part, that is the technical element (Winkler 2005). The anthropotechnic system is a result of the deliberate impact of the human being on a technical product, in this case, on a piece of furniture. The overall aim of initiating such systems is to improve the aesthetics of home interiors and raise their functionality, security and comfort of use. By using technical objects, we usually try to adjust them to the nature of work and one’s own psychophysical abilities. Such activity aims to humanise work through the organisation of the system human-machine-environment conditions, so that it is done as lowest possible biological cost, yet highly effectively (Fig. 3.1).
The creator of the concept of ergonomics (from Greek ergon—work, nomos— principle, law) is the Polish scientist Professor Wojciech Bogumil Jastrz^bowski (1799-1882), who was the first in 1857 to use the term ergonomics and identified the need to develop this science. In the periodical Przyroda i przemysl, in a series of articles entitled: Outline of ergonomy, i. e. science of work, based on the laws drawn from the science of nature, Jastrz^bowski defined ergonomics as a science of using the powers and abilities given to man from his Creator.
The Englishman, Kenneth Frank Hywel Murrell (1908-1984) wrote in 1949— Ergonomics: the study of the relationship between man and his working environment.
According to the Polish Society of Ergonomics, ergonomics is an applied science aiming to optimally adjust tools, machinery, equipment, technology, organisation and the material working environment, as well as objects of common use to the physiological, psychological and social requirements and needs of the human being. Whereas according to International Ergonomics Association (IEA), ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system and the profession that applies
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J. Smardzewski, Furniture Design,
Fig. 3.1 Ergonomics as a connection between human and his surroundings
theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.
The main area of interest of modern ergonomics, which grew from the teachings about work, is still the working and leisure environment of the human being. The ergonomic quality of this environment depends, among others, on the proper design and construction of the basic components of locations of work, study, dining, relaxation, sleep, etc.
Modern furniture, regardless of its intended purpose, is characterised by the domination of form over function and practical use values. However, it needs to be kept in mind that a furniture piece, as an object of applied art, should harmoniously combine all the requirements, including aesthetic, functional, use, constructional, technological, economic, and social.