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Brief Published: 2 Apr 2013

Ergonomic Chair Designs


Here are three innovative chair designs for academic settings, which aim to support collaborative working, along with better posture and concentration. According to Galen Cranz, professor of architecture at the University of California, school planners are pursuing an alternative to uncomfortable outdated models that, she says in a recent New York Times article, have “been replicated unconsciously” for many years. 

Last year, in a noteworthy move, US furniture manufacturer Hon supplied Kentucky’s new Thomas Nelson High School with its new Smart Link Seating. The malleable, supportive chairs feature a curved back that lets students “turn around, sit sideways, lean back, and stay comfortable and focused for longer periods of time, ” according to the manufacturers.

Flexibility is at the core of these designs, and the curved Pro chair by German firm Flötotto (pictured above) engages back muscles, which helps supply blood to the vertebrae, preventing pain and stiffness. The chair comes in three sizes for students from primary to high school and was awarded the 2012 Interior Innovation Award.

Netherlands-based design Studio Makkink and Bey introduced their #006 Side Seat in 2012, a desk with a swivelling chair and built-in cupboard. The seat and desk’s open configuration encourages users to be “interactive and flexible” with others as they work. 

Stylus explores more future-minded designs for school environments in Rethinking the Way We Learn: The Institute of Play



Studio Makkink and Bey