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Take your seat

AFP Relaxnews
AFP Relaxnews • 5 min read
Take your seat
Vitra advises remote workers to sit better to work better. Plus what is a chair museum?
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SINGAPORE (June 5): Vitra advises remote workers to sit better to work better. Plus what is a chair museum?

Vitra, the famous Swiss design house which is renowned as a reference in international design and iconic seating, is riding to the rescue of workers battling with uncomfortable conditions while working from home, which has become the norm for office staff over the last few months.

For those of us who have found that the lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus has been particularly hard on our backs, help is now at hand. Many of us have not been to the office in months, and there is no saying how much longer we will be working from home.

The problem is that, more often than not, the ergonomics of our home workspaces have not really been thought through. This is an issue that is further compounded by the fact that we may be indulging in bad posture for longer periods given that we no longer have to bother with daily commutes or going out for lunch. Now, the Vitra design house has come to the rescue with three tips to optimise comfort in our home workspaces.

Find the right table and chair heights

If, like many of us, you have been working on a dining table, kitchen table, or, in some extreme cases even a coffee table, it may not be easy to adjust the height of your desk.

In some cases, it might be possible to compensate for this with a careful choice of seating. As to how we should sit when using a computer, the standard wisdom is to have relaxed upper arms that form a right angle with your forearms, on the same level as the keyboard.

Pampering your back

Your back should be properly supported during work sessions, and it is important not to forget to regularly change your sitting position.

Try working standing up

If you are lucky enough to own a height-adjustable desk, spending part of the day working standing up can do wonders for your back (while still keeping your forearms and upper arms at right angles). If you do not, you may be able to improvise using a chest of drawers or a sideboard. Finally, when you need to read a document or make a phone call, it is a good idea to do so while strolling around.

For more information visit Vitra’s website:

'Chair Times’ as told by the Vitra Design Museum

At a time when much of the world is whiling away the final days of lockdown, which is progressively coming to a close in many countries around the world, and after weeks of isolation spent lounging around the house, what we sit on and the design of seating, whatever form it may take, is at the forefront of many people’s minds.

What is the ideal level of comfort that still allows us to remain alert? Are design decisions solely dictated by materials and techniques? Should functionality take precedence over aesthetics? These are just some of the questions explored in a new documentary by the Vitra Design Museum, which looks back on more than two centuries of chairs. For those of you who may still have some more days to spend at home, the good news is that the internet still offers plenty of delights to help you pass the time.

One of the uncontested jewels in this cultural crown is the documentary Chair Times — A History of Seating — from 1800 to Today, which has recently been posted online by the Vitra Design Museum. The film charts a course through 125 different chairs from the museum’s collection, which are presented in the order of their initial year of production. All of these designs, from the earliest 1807 models by Thonet to the most recent 3D-printed creations, illustrate the development of a discipline, which has continually evolved to adapt to social progress and the introduction of new techniques.

The journey begins with elegant bent wood pieces by Thonet and continues with creations by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies Van Der Rohe, Breuer, Gehry and others. As you sit back to enjoy this 90-minute film, you will also hear from some major specialists in the field, like designers Hella Jongerius, Antonio Citterio and Ronan Bouroullec, architects and collectors Arthur Rüegg and Ruggero Tropeano, and architect David Chipperfield.

In short, you will enjoy a tour of the history of design in excellent company, and guided by Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman Emeritus of Vitra. Having examined the work of designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld, who amid the recession in the 1930s, created furniture that could be built at home, and Charles and Ray Eames who explored the use of plywood during WWII, the words of Rolf Fehlbaum assume a particular pertinence in the context of today’s unpredictable world: “Innovation does not emerge in periods of slow progess but in times of crisis and change.”

“Chair Times — A History of Seating — from 1800 to Today” can be streamed from the website of the Vitra Design Museum: page/chair-times

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