As part of the ‘partnerships, networks and connections’ ethos of this module, I have recently visited ‘Total Business Furniture’, at 63 Brown Street in Dundee, who supply high-end ergonomically designed office furniture. The director Mr Andrew Flaherty and his staff were very helpful and happy to discuss their furniture.
Unfortunately they no longer sell a kneeling chair because the one they had stocked (by Peter Opsvik) is no longer in production, and as they didn’t sell that many they have not replaced it with another model. Although people happily tried the kneeling chair and many liked it, often they would opt for cheaper or more traditionally styled office chairs. Perhaps there was a perceived need to purchase what they felt conformed to idea of what an office chair ‘should’ be like. One member of staff said that they had lent a kneeling chair to one lady with a bad back so she could try it out and then had problems getting it back because she loved it so much. I can relate to that, as I love my kneeling chair too!
They do however carry the HAG ‘Capisco’ Chair also by Peter Opsvik and desks that are variable in height and angle, so you can sit, perch or stand whilst working. This type of more adaptable working environment is more common in Scandinavian countries than in the UK. Mr Flaherty said these were popular with designers and architects, and remind me of my younger days as an architect when I stood or perched on a stool at a drawing board to work rather than having to sit at a computer desk.
The HAG ‘Capisco’ Chair is a saddle type chair. It can be varied in height according to your stature and height of the work surface; it also has an adjustable height footrest and a tipping mechanism that is adjustable to your weight so you can lean back in comfort.
The saddle seat is a ‘perch’, and works in a similar way to ‘kneeling’, by putting your back into correct alignment. I personally found the seat too wide between my thighs and therefore not very comfortable for me. I would have preferred the projection to be narrower. Perhaps a man would feel happier with this wider stance and/or have thinner thighs to go round it! It was a comfortable position though with respect to the back.
You can sit on the chair back to front and lean forward onto the back to give support. This was an extremely comfortable position, and makes the chair popular with dentists and therapists that find they need to lean forward a lot in their professions. It also made me aware that whilst sitting in my kneeling chair working at a computer, I pull myself close in to the desk and lean against it for extra support rather than leaning against a chair back.