Burn Your Desk Chair: 9 Radical Alternatives To Office Seating

Neither sitting or standing all day is good for you. These seating designs offer a third way.

If there’s one thing that the abundance of research on healthy workplaces makes clear, it’s that there’s no clear solution to the problems caused by our desk jobs.


Sitting all day is (predictably) terrible for you–according to the American Cancer Society, it will shorten anyone’s average life-span. But standing all day isn’t good for your either. It can lead to long-term muscle fatigue and back problems. Even working out won’t help: According to research published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, an after-work workout won’t do much to offset the damage done by sitting.

Designers have made headway on some practical solutions to these problems–and then there are the more farfetched ideas. Enter Bless, the French-German design studio known for dreaming up unorthodox designs for everyday objects.

The duo’s first project together, in 1997, was a wig made out of fur. They’ve since produced a series of suits for chairs called Chairwear and jewelry made from cables. For their latest project, designers Ines Kaag and Desiree Heiss have produced a collection of home-office furniture that encourages physical activity during work hours. And while the pieces are not always practical, they are fully functional–sometimes you need to think outside of the office cube before climbing back into one.

On view at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the collection–called BLESS N° 56 Worker’s Delight–includes a work chair made from an upright massage chair with an attachable desk that you can work from through the face pillow. It also features two types of hammocks-as-work-chairs: a “fat knit” hammock made of woven material and another constructed out of a Persian rug. A plush white chaise lounge doubles as a leg weight machine, allowing one to lounge with a laptop while strengthening their quads. There’s also the fantastical Workout Computer, whose keyboard has been replaced by a series of punching bags. How’s that for punching in/out?

“The objects and pieces of furniture created for this project provide us with unexpected ways to move while completing everyday office chores and to restructure our days spent in front of the screen,” write Bless in a press release. 1980s kitsch aesthetic aside, the concepts behind some of these pieces are actually pretty logical. Or at least not that much more outlandish than the solutions already on the market. See: an office chair shaped like a pogo stick.

BLESS N° 56 Worker’s Delight will be on view at the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany through September 10, 2016.


[All Photos (unless otherwise noted): Ludger Paffrath]

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.