The unrockable school chair

The Max II chair design is in response to research that apparently shows that more than 7,000 school children are admitted to hospital each year from chair-related accidents.


A new range of “unrockable” school chairs is being released – the designs aim to prevent pupils from tilting back dangerously in their seats.

The Max chair, designed by Mick Nash, managing director of design agency Sedley Place, was originally launched by teacher Tom Wates in 2007. The launch came after Government statistics apparently showed that 7,000 schoolchildren are admitted to hospital every year from chair-related accidents, and 70 per cent were rocking dangerously back on a chair.

Wates, who founded company Don’t Lean Back to market the chair, says: “By ‘unrockable’ we mean the chairs ‘prevent children from rocking’  – leaning back on the chair is a real challenge, and it’s almost impossible to fall off.”


The original Max chair design uses a specially designed anti-tilt frame that prevents children from rocking in it. Nash has now updated his design to create the Max II chair.

The Max II uses the same frame dimensions as its predecessor. These not only stop children from being able to rock their chairs, but also “support learning and wellbeing of students” according to DLB.

The updated design uses glass-filled polypropylene and, according to DLB, a “unique patented joint” that lets customers choose from a multitude of leg and shell colour combinations.


Wates says: “School chair design hasn’t changed for 40 years – it has always been dull, practical and based on the ‘cheapest’ chairs possible to buy.

“The Max chair is a chair that introduces great aesthetics to classroom which has been overlooked in school design as the environment has never been a priority.”

He adds: “The Max II takes in all of the usual requirements needed for excellent educational seating as well as a design more suited to the demands of a ‘design-conscious’ child.”

The first iteration of the Max chair sold 150,000 units, while DLB says it expects to sell 100,000 of the new Max II design by the end of next year.

The Max school chairs are currently being used in around 1,800 schools around the country.

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  • George Kay February 27, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Nice idea of course but I personally wouldn’t just write off the original Robin Day chair design just like that.

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