Sunday, June 3, 2012

CHOOSING A CHAIR


Recently my old chair just collapsed under me like Buster Keaton’s car. The seat tilted, screws fell out, knobs popped off and the back fell apart. 
    So, I ordered a good-looking chair from Amazon, assembled it and sat on it. After five minutes excruciating back pain occured. And no wonder: it had a space where lumbar support should have been and the back was fixed in an un-natural position and couldn’t be adjusted. Returning it was not easy, since the base had been attached to the hydraulic seat and was impossible to remove. When I popped the hydraulic clasp, thingies exploded all over the floor:
little wheels, washers, oil, springs, other stuff. The wheel base did come off which permitted me to cram the chair back into the box and return it for a refund.   
    Obviously I would have to test-sit chairs first so, I went to several stores and tried out their models. I found a suitable one but they don’t sell chairs in the store, your have to order online. As it happened, that particular chair was out of stock online and remained so for three weeks during which time, I had to do my writing in bed or on the sofa. Very decadent but quite uncomfortable, really.  
 Eventually, the chosen chair arrived, was assembled and proved to be sittable. Not beautiful, bloody ugly, in fact, poorly designed with the “lumbar support” in mid spine and a needlessly enormous back that supports nothing and bangs into the desk when swiveled, but the back and height are adjustable, greatly reducing any back pain.

   
    Chair designers, please pay attention to human anatomy when designing a piece of furniture in which most of us have to spend eight hours or more a day.  Unless you’re a ballet dancer, most human spines curve out at the top then in at the lumbar region.  But most office chairs curve in at the top and out at the bottom causing a great deal of needless discomfort.  
    The fact that the chair I ordered was out of stock would seem to indicate that people sensibly prefer an adjustable chair to the current non-ergonomic models with fixed backs which cause backache.     
    How hard would it be, designers, to reverse the S-curve on all office chairs and give some comfort to aching writers and office workers?  And, while you're at it, why not make smaller backs which would reduce the cost and weight of these chairs too.
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