Standing desks, Swiss balls and kneeling chairs: all offered as solutions to the ever-growing problem of our sedentary work lifestyles. As most office workers are spending more and more hours at their desks, the question of how this is affecting people's health is often talked about, but how are designers responding?
Norwegian firm HÅG — a brand of Scandinavian Business Seating — set out to design a modern and flexible office chair that not only offered ergonomic support, but looked good too. The result was the HÅG Capisco Puls, which was developed from the renowned HÅG Capisco Saddle Chair that was designed by Peter Opsvik nearly 30 years ago.
Using his previous design as inspiration, Opsvik created the latest chair as a response to the body's need for constant motion. The designer closely studied how horse-riders' bodies moved in the saddle, attaching great importance to activity and motion for those who work sitting down. Because of this, the chair follows the body's movements, providing ergonomic support for exposed points.
Back in the 1970s, many experts in the area of ergonomics attempted to create a singular correct sitting position. However, realising that this 'one fits-all' mentality was not conducive to the many shapes and sizes represented by the human body, Opsvik set out to create products that inspire variation between many different postures while using the same chair. Creating sitting solutions that inspire movement and variations in posture are recurrent features in Opsvik's work. He uses different concepts to achieve dynamic sitting, but common to them all is the idea that being in balance inspires movement as well as control.
According to Opsvik, the feet are the ignored extremities of ergonomics. As our feet and legs have the responsibility for moving us in all situations, it seemed natural for Opsvik to make sure that the chair respond to and is controlled by the feet.
This is an excerpt from the “Back in the Saddle" article from the July/August 2016 issue of Perspective magazine.
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