« 99% Invisible

139- Edge of Your Seat

2014-11-04 | 🔗

“A Chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” — Mies van der Rohe. The chair presents an interesting design challenge, because it is an object that disappears when in use. The person replaces the chair. So chairs need to … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety. Nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. The chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easy. Those the words of Means Vanderwiller, one of many architects who have also design chairs Eames Geary, a deed leave, askin caboose yea broiler. If they ve designed a big building chances. Are they designed being on which to set- and this makes sense that chairs or be signature design pieces for architects chairs are almost like teeny tiny buildings for one person producer. Every trouble, and course it's not just architects. The owners of all stripes have this love affair with chairs waiting, red designer really would love to design a check, I mean it's so many interesting things about yours, MRS design.
Bruce Hannah? I mob teacher at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and design things for nor for years, including plenty of chairs for the office for the home. Everything chairs it exist, they kind of like place holders for human beings. You may go into a rest. It's empty and there's all these little place holders who know. Yet when the people sit in the chair it disappears. The person replaces the cheer and so there is a distinct challenge for chair designers. To make this thing look, fantastic, one empty remain comfortably invisible when in use in Hannah's pursuit of feeding innovation action. They lead to something else when he was experimenting with foam. Cushioning cannot accidentally invented the nerve ball. Well, actually, it's called the foam football still really cool. It did come out of designing the chair of you were much more interested in the chair. Yes,
Those designer sure do love chairs, love them. They keep turning out new once all the time which brings me to my favorite The lines from the union quote report confirms no, need to make new tears for the time being, because yeah there are already a lot. I think you could say that about aid that will have enough carts, let's stop making cars. Personally, I wouldn't be against that, but new chairs are always coming out. Hannah says to fit our ever changing needs because chairs determine how we use a space. Hannah brought up. This great example of sitting in cafes cafes used to be places for talking and now their places for working, so people are sitting in. You're acting differently and still the furniture devolves along with the space and the activities throughout our lives. We have been told to sit down in school and the office in the polite company of a dinner party
In a car, a plane or bus or movie theater sitting is the default. We spend a lot of time in chairs, but I'm sure you heard all the talk lately about how unhealthy chairs especially if you have no public radio, which I bet you do. You're beautiful, nerd first will talk about chronic sitting at its sitting down. Well, you might want to stand up. It turns out that sitting down can be better. For your health and those who were sitting more were substantially more likely to die ease. I think I found like five articles with the headline sitting is the new smoking. The absolute number of hours that you sit is directly correlated with. Mortality from all causes can heart attack and stroke, and it doesn't matter how many hours you spend in the gym as compensation. This is Professor Galen cramps. You come then the secretary says ever seat. She No she's wishing you deaf and also death wish this research alone.
Those scary headlines has led to a new market for medicine, Voltaire's, adjustable terror standing desks, treadmill desks. The chair backlash is upon us in Berkeley Architecture, Professor Galen, and totally nailed it way before anyone else, yes, It is nice to that people are yes that I was present and I wasn't prescient. Everybody else was just in nineteen eighty eight cans published a book called the chair, rethinking culture, body and design, and the argument of the chair is that we should stop sitting in chairs. At least we should stop sending in them for so long after three hours, doesnt seem to have much consequence, but professor grants takes innovative cheer sitting to another level. I try to eliminate all conventional chairs. In my own life, which presented a challenge. When I went to go interview her, I wonder if I could see how shall we said, Professor Kansas House was full of floor cost
Tommy mats and lots and lots of unconventional hybrid chairs like a medicine ball on an office chair chassis and one that looked like a sleek, pared down horse saddle and when she's, not in her. Seating, oasis and out in public. Professor grants does a lot of standing instead of sitting when she gets tired. She opts to kneel we're squat or lie down. I laid down in bank and somebody came up and asked me if I was having a heart attack, which was kind of them, I understand, but I said no, I'm fine, I'm just resting, as the line is so long. You the gutsy to actually avoid the chairs, everywhere So how did the rest of us get suckered into the seated position? Well, it all started when we got off the far the twentieth century. We move from being an agricultural economy where most people worked on farms. Now we moved into a man
factoring economy where a lot of people worked in factories and summed sat some stood to work, the machines in the on the km long, the convey That's not to over romanticized life on the farm. They were still doing back breaking work. It is probably had better posture and less carpal tunnels syndrome and then we moved into a service economy, and that seems to be where the chair really took off and became the dominant riotous for our lives and then, when we settled into the service economy sitting, became the way to type in file and fill out paperwork. You could do that stuff, ending, but for reasons I don't I understand we did it sitting and so office chairs become the chairs the chairs that people spend most of their day.
And until very recent history, they were not made to fit your body. They were made to fit your job, so you had a managerial one. You had a middle managerial one. You have secretarial when you had a task to freeze Hannah had to design a few. These kinds of office chess, this status, oriented chair design meant that in some cases you had the hundred and twenty pound executive sitting. In a gigantic cheer, because it really was about his presence when he wasn't there or her presently, and then you had the hundred and sixty pound assistant secretary sitting in this tiny little chair for the most part status, trumped ergonomics, then along comes ninety. Ninety, two, the the erasure where it's the same cheered comes in three sizes. It's a t, shirt school when a medium one, another
but everybody gets all the adjustments they get arms, they get everything they need to work because everyone is working equally hard in the office. The Herman Miller, Aaron Chair, you ve seen in IRAN chair. It's got this measure looking back and you ve probably heard it meant, and on public radio you'd beautiful nerd support for an pr comes from sit for life and Herman Miller featuring the IRAN chair, including the true black color. They are usually black or true black there's one of them everywhere. Our surprise. When I walked into the studio today there you don't have a couple here: they're everywhere the ubiquitous did the ubiquitous chair, an errand chair, brought on this age of ergonomic office, chairs that look like little robots. They display their technical Jesus selling point and they show off there swiveller on their adjustments in their economic technology the. On share defined. What an office chair ought to look like right now. I think it's. What society says that that will make me come to the peace
machinery and no one guess that these expensive pieces of machinery would sell like hotcakes, no one except Galen grants. When my book first came out, people said well, you know, nobody's gonna pay for an ordinary clerk to have an adjustable chair. With all the bills and whistles. Oh, that's way too expensive. That never happen. Then there were repetitive strain injury and a whole lot of lawsuits and insurance. Companies suddenly thought it was a lot cheaper to buy those fancy it The chairs, then, to pay for medical bills. Cranes is a fan of what she calls body conscious, design and considers any chair that takes the human figure into account. Is a vast improvement over say a bean bag chair, but can't argue that some of those bells and whistles on office chairs actually don't help that much specifically those economic chair backs as in all likelihood, you are proud,
least sitting in this chair, while working at a desk and the desk it turns out, is the chairs, devious, accomplice, the true and is, cable flat surfaces bourse you to lean over, so you never really. The convening of the chair back the chair, in particular as such to sit at this right angle position. But most of our work is forward oriented, clerical worth, reading, writing checks and eating even drinking tea and coffee and all the everything's forward. So you been forward or more likely slope, even if you have excellent posture, it's hard to avoid leaning over your keyboard or your dinner or your book.
The head gets seduced into coming forward and then the spine turns into a big see, shape and Galen Grant says that when you curve your spine into the sea shape it's bad for the spine, of course, but it also compressors your organs, which is really bad, especially for hours on end throughout the day in an office chair and because of this horrible chair desk, dynamic, chair designers can't solve much by adding ergonomic elements to the chair backs. Actually, professor hence thinks we should do away with back support entirely. I think back support is a big mistake and it's it's weakened our backs. If you support something, you usually weaken it So if you are in a situation where you must must sit in a chair grant says it's best to ignore the chair back and set yourself right at the edge of your seat right out, The edge that way you dont get seduced to using the chair back. If your own torso strength keep you upright with straight Do you have getting your sit bones out to the edge of the chair you turning it in?
the stool stools. Cancers are a good alternative to chairs because they dont have back support and they get your body out of the sea shape. It positions the body halfway between sitting and standing and if you take that body Jim and lean backwards. Would you get a lounge chair and that's how I am position right now, yeah, gale in France was reclining in a lounge chair for this interview, I'll be in the lounge and all have you in the rocking chair facing me, and she put me in a rocking air, because, unlike a normal chair, it allows for Fluidity and movement in this house sounds great and healthy and fun, but in practice I was all the way forward, rocking rate to the very fronts rat, etching, my microphone out to grants who was lying back in her lounge chair, and it heard I just wanted-
two chairs and a flat desk to rest. My arm on, were I don't know. Maybe I just wasn't used to this alternative world. Yet maybe I need to get acclimated. I don't know. I mean professor conflict pretty comfortable in her lounged. Here people got so into standing desks and treadmill. Dusts. Professor grants was sure that lounge chairs and lounge chaired would replace chairs in it of all the solutions to the seating problem. The lounge chair is the solution, requires the least physical effort, while still support, in the human body and a healthy way, but it's not like there. One single piece of furniture that will correct all the problems of chair sitting. No lounged here is not the answer. There's no, the answer. What we need is variety, the best pasture. The next pasture Bruce Hannah agrees them. The variation in your day, the better off, but he's not
every day a run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run that mean that all restaurants will be will be running in place at restaurants, though, be treadmills will do nothing be sacred. I like to sit, I won't you sit down and ideal space to live or to work like to sit. I won't you sit down an ideal space to live or to work could be followed. Unconventional mismatch chairs for you to try out and cycle through like an jail in Kansas, dining room. People say Well, you have a lot of chairs. I say yes to Chair Museum and I say your trot be sure to try them on people. Do they like they say. Oh I've said in that link I got tried out one F way to the dinner. You know the middle class as you want everything to match and its funding don't match. Everybody loves it, trying out that all the different attitudes towards seeding reform, but this illusion isn't just like only in Berkeley kind of thing. So maybe in this one case this one exception,
The union is wrong. We don't need fewer things to sit on, it turns out. We need more and all different kinds stools purchase. Lounge chairs. Throw in some desk. We designs, while you're at it ones that right. To meet us like drafting tables design more much more more bring me more chairs. That is There lies the story, but I leave ninety nine percent. Invisible was produced this week by the greens.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.