In Balance With Sloping Thighs
Aftenposten, Tuesday the 13th of May 1980
By Signe Møller Forsberg
In Norway, about 2/3 of the country’s 1,5 million workers sit while they are working. 60% of these workers suffer from back-pains, shoulder-pains or neck-pains. Back-pains are a strain-injury which can begin as early as childhood and the teenage years. Theses problems start because of wrong seating and posture habits that one learns from an early age. In countries like India where people sit in a position that doesn’t strain the spinal columns the back-pains that are typical for western cultures almost don’t exist. In India people commonly squat while working as well as raise themselves up with the correct spinal columns.
One person that has for many years been concerned with ergonomics in relation to furniture is designer Peter Opsvik. Together with Hans Chr. Mengshoel he has developed the “Balans Variable” chair that in these days is being shown at the Furniture Fair in Copenhagen. The chair is produced by Stokke and has very little in common with the traditional chair. On a Balans chair one sits with downward sloping thighs and support under the knees. This way the hips are placed in an open angle and the lower back isn’t pressed backwards. When one works at a table one shouldn’t need to use any back-support. When using a Balans chair, instead of supporting the back, the open hip position between the hips and thighs and minimal use of muscles encourages the upper body into a naturally balanced position, which is about the same position it is in while standing.
This position promotes flow of blood through the thighs and pelvic veins. It gives more space for the stomach, intestines, the liver, etc. It stops these organs from being pressed into the diaphragm and compressing the heart and lung functions.
Now 33 years onwards, the Variable Balans chair has become a design classic, and it user benefits are just as valid today as they were when the chair was first introduced. In our opinions, that is what has made the Variable Balans chair iconic.
- Book Review – Rethinking Sitting by Peter Opsvik (varierfurniture.wordpress.com)