Furniture News: Reworking the Desk

Stand and Deliver

According to The Wall Street Journal, the stand-up desk is becoming popular at places like Google and Facebook. It’s not a new idea: Jefferson, Dickens,  Hemingway, and Churchill all used one at various times. (And I thought Winston did all his writing in the bathtub!) It turns out they were on to something, because this piece of furniture is better for you, ergonomically speaking. Too much sitting is generally unhealthy — it’s important to get that blood circulating! Industrial designer Martin Keen has developed a cool new version at Focal

Upright Furniture. There are two parts: the Locus™ seat that’s not really a seat

but a place to lean, and the Locus™ desk, which can be raised and lowered. Made of aluminum, steel, bent hardwood laminate, and polymer, the designs

were launched this year at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York (disclosure: chairman Stephen Williamson is a Focal Upright investor).  The adjustable “perch” — with simple manual controls to

adjust seat height and angle, and includes a soft foot pad to promote better posture and healthier body movement. It also packs almost flat and has rollers for easy easy storage and transport. Martin is best known for founding Keen

Footware, the inventor of sandals, like this one, and after selling his shoe business two years ago started refining the standing desk idea. He said: “I guess I’m working my way up the body!” Martin’s designs are the latest entry in an

evolving field that includes the Stits, by German furniture manufacturer Wilkahn, which rests on a pillow- or soft ball-like base for moving in place, and the Muvman, made by the German company called Aeris Impulsmobel, another

version of the ergonomic stool that pivots to allow for what is called “variable sitting.” I like that term — perhaps a more positive spin, so to speak, on fidgeting! To understand the fascinating evolution of the chair — as

physical device and cultural icon — I highly recommend The Chair, by U. C. Berkeley Architecture Professor Galen Cranz. You can read it standing up.


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