Is this the most uncomfortable office chair ever made?



Take a look at this office chair from Munich based designer Konstantin Grcic that we came across in this nice write up about the history of the Aeron office chair. While the Aeron was built to be super comfortable – comfortable enough to work 15 hour days during the dotcom bubble, this stool looks like something you wouldn’t much enjoy sitting on. Which was exactly the point of the designer, it turns out.

In the words of someone who knows something about design, that would sound more or less like this:

“Konstantin Grcic´s radical take on the office chair shatters the ergonomists´monopoly on workplace design and turns a bumrest into a tool. Sitting on it in a traditional way is the least successful approach – you feel a vertiginous sensation that everything that should be there isn´t.

(…) In its efforts to shake off the flattened, generic experience of traditional office furniture, Grcic has made something that asks us to think of a chair-as-tool, or chair-as-device. (…) What´s happening here is a strange trick – where by undoing the direct functional performance of a chair, Grcic makes the 360° somehow more functional.

By un-inventing the normative perception of the chair, he asks its user to be party to the imaginative invention of sitting. (…) And somehow this provisional quality feels like a relief from a more conventionally comfortable chair. Sitting on it here in my office, it feels less like work, more like doing something.”
(Excerpt form a text by Sam Jacob published in ICON magazine, September 2009).

In human readable language, you can sum it up as: you can sit on it, but the stool will remind you that you need to move around from time to time. Which ironically makes it a healthier chair than the Aeron, because it makes you want to run away from your desk. If anyone ever worked with it, would love to hear from you how it does in the real world.

Who would dream up such an office chair, you say?

According to his website, Konstantin Grcic (*1965) was trained as a cabinet maker at The John Makepeace School (Dorset, England) before studying Design at the Royal College of Art in London.

Since setting up his own practice Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID) in Munich in 1991, he has developed furniture, products and lighting for some of the leading companies in the design field. Amongst his renowned clients are Authentics, BD Ediciones, ClassiCon, Flos, Magis, Mattiazzi, Muji, Nespresso, Plank, Serafino Zani, Thomas-Rosenthal and Vitra. For Galerie kreo in Paris, he has created a number of limited edition pieces since 2004.

Many of his products have received international design awards such as the prestigious Compasso d`Oro for his MAYDAY lamp (Flos) in 2001 and the MYTO chair (Plank) in 2011. You may know the MAYDAY lamp – it’s the one with the “coat hanger”:

Work by Konstantin Grcic forms part of the permanent collections of the world´s most important design museums (a.o. MoMA/New York, Centre Georges Pompidou/Paris).

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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