The Balance Chair
The chair that elevates your work and wellness.
Find yourself sitting for hours dismissing reminders to take a break?
You need the Balance Chair, a chair that kicks you out for a quick stretch during the work day.
Designer, Researcher (special thanks to Daniel Jonas, Woodshop Manager at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design for his woodworking expertise!)
Physical mechanical chair
Plywood, basic electronics
Working without breaks took a toll on my mental and physical health
For three years beginning during the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been working remotely in technology. As a part-time grad student dealing with a destructive perfectionism and someone pivoting to a new career at the same time, I pushed my physical limits to create more and more deliverables. I always found more work to be done even if I was exhausted! I wanted to take breaks but actively prevented myself including by dismissing physiological signals like eye pain and thirst or digital signals like calendar reminders to take a walk. While I'm proud of the work, I wish I had approached it more sustainably by balancing my output with active breaks away from the screen to rest my eyes and my body.
I designed a chair that removes the affordance of sitting to automatically create a break without any internal negotionation
After reaching out to members of the Arlington community (the highest density of remote workers in the nation), I realized everyone that consistently took breaks had a special trigger, a dog that needed to be taken out. In lieu of a pet, I devised some ideas but settled on a chair that could not be ignored.
I prototyped the chair in several stages and learned a great deal about basic electronics and woodworking in the process. The final product is a repurposed chair outfitted with a linear actuator on a timer, which pushes against a "second seat", hinged to the main frame of the chair. As the linear actuator pushes on the seat the user is gently tipped out of the chair and into a standing position.