Upright Stool Design Wants To Do-Away With The Office Chair

Upright Stool Design Wants To Do-Away With The Office Chair

Designer Martin Keen's back hurt from sitting at a desk all day, so he imagined a new way for people to spend their day at work.

Zack Cohn
  • 22 august 2012


PSFK Presents The Future Of Work

The Jamestown, Rhode Island-based furniture brand Focal Upright Furniture wants to disrupt your work day. Right now, most people work 8+ hours a day sitting (or slouching) in a desk chair, a position that not only hurts their back, but is also slowly killing them. Focal hopes to change that with their new Locus workstation, a design that features an upright seat that slightly resembles a standing unicycle, letting people work pain-free in a posture halfway between standing and sitting.

PSFK saw the Locus workstation and chatted with the designer behind the Focal brand, Martin Keen, at the 2012 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Keen explained that for years he tried to design a new sitting experience that was easier on his back. In the mid-90s, when he was designing a footwear line, he took the 3-legged stool he was sitting on and bent the back leg, forcing him into an upright position rather than a traditional sitting one.


The Lotus Workstation is Keen’s latest iteration of his original design. He worked with bio-mechanical researchers and ergonomics experts to produce this innovative design, which he says is proven to alleviate the back pain that comes as a result of sitting everyday.

The workstation has a single seat leg that travels forward and backward along a track, allowing a user to choose the most comfortable position for himself from a variety of positions that fall somewhere between standing and sitting. The workstations are designed to encourage active engagement, and keep a user’s brain and body alert throughout the day.

Although the Lotus Workstation’s design is aesthetically unusual, we tested the workstation and found it surprisingly comfortable–Keen might just be on the right track to providing an answer for millions of Americans who endure back pain from sitting all day.


Focal Upright Furniture

PSFK is asking readers to show us great examples of products and initiatives that help make their workplace healthier.

Do you balance on a fitness ball while balancing the books? Maybe you prefer to stand tall at your desk while your colleagues admire your stature from their padded chairs? Whatever your preference, we want you to share it with us. Send us pictures of your unique desk setup, or shoot us links to other cool examples of fitness furniture.

Tweet us your ideas to @psfk using #FoW #WorkFitness so we know who to credit. The best response will win a Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity/Sleep Tracker.

Over the next 4-8 weeks we want to start a conversation around what you see is possible in the Future of Work. Feel free to follow the conversation here and participate in the ongoing competitions. Find the previous Week 1 challenges here: Day 1 and Day 2.


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