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Tilting concepts

Chairs or sitting devices are standard pieces of equipment in most societies. Formed according to the established standards, based on the “accepted western manner of sitting”.

When the various authorities in ergonomics were all promoting their one and only “correct” sitting posture, my comment was that all of them were right!

All of the recommended sitting postures were good, and I saw it as my job to design chairs that allowed as many different comfortable postures as possible and to make it easy to move and change frequently between them. The best sitting posture is always the next.

Explore my dynamic tilting concepts and backdrop below.

  1. The balanced tilt
  2. The wheel
  3. The spiral springs
  4. Suspended from above

The balanced tilt

The seat and the back of the chair are joined to form what can be called the body of the chair. This inspire the user to tilt freely from a forward-leaning position to a reclined position by tilting over a pivot point or axis under the seat right at the body's very centre of gravity. The front of the seat moves up and down when the chair tilts back and forth, thus the position of the feet controls the tilt angle of the chair.

There are many names to describe this concept: Balanced tilt, Floating tilt, Balanced Movement Mechanism and the trademark Flokk uses on my dynamic chairs: InBalance.

The Wheel

In chairs with rollers or runners, it is the runners' contact with the floor that constitutes the tilting point.   Imagine placing a person inside a wheel, and that this person changes position. The wheel or the ball has an exceptional quality that when rolling on a flat surface, it always comes to rest in a balanced position. However, in this case the wheel is not circular; rather it has a curve designed for both stability and motion. This is one of the simplest ways of creating tilting in a chair.

Spiral springs

In this concept chairs or support surfaces are suspended with ropes, from above.  What is it that fascinates us about sitting on a swing? It gives us a sense of freedom. No other kind of seat allows us such freedom of movement as one suspended from ropes.

A pendulum clock can keep going for weeks on the small amount of force generated by the spring, proving the efficacy of this principle.  The movements of suspended bodies are soft and rhythmical, soothing to mind and body alike. It is particularly difficult to sit still. Perhaps such movements spark associations with the time when we floated effortlessly in the womb?  

In this concept I have found a device that helps the user to move naturall.

Suspended from above

In this concept I have tried to get a lot of movement out of minimal resources. Compared with traditional office chairs, we have done away with the base star, the lifting column and complicated tilting devices. The rope performs all of these functions and more. In addition, the materials are renewable wood. Initial studies show that the version of Swing that is suspended from the ceiling, without cushions, has only 1/10 of the environmental load of a comparable working chair. This “Factor 10” reduction in consumption of resources is necessary in industrialized countries in order to achieve global sustainabiity in the next 30 to 50 years.

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Peter Opsvik´s thoughts about chairs and sitting

More about Peter Opsvik´s thoughts about sitting

A historical view on sitting

Movement and variation

Favourite postures

Chairs growing with the child

Some thoughts on design

Environmental values

Rethinking sitting – the book