Don’t make office chairs that resemble machines

With regard to the article about office ergonomics (DW 11 May), it is true to say that trends come and go in the office environment. One of which was adjustability, a phenomenon we don’t seem to be able to get away from. It left us with office chairs that looked like machines, which you needed a qualification in car mechanics to be able to operate.

With today’s more flexible offices, all that adjustment hardly seems necessary. Moving around the office, multi-tasking, briefing, discussing or writing an e-mail – altering each chair you sit on is not very realistic.

A badly adjusted chair can be detrimental to your health, so why isn’t an office chair available that doesn’t need adjustment?

The main reason is that the standards put in place to regulate office chairs are the standards that prevent us from being able to ‘break the office chair mould’. The only way it seems we can move on is by making small progressive changes with compromises. Even the adaptive backrest of the Headline chair from Vitra has succumbed to lumbar adjustment – though you have to look closely to find it.

Jonathan Prestwich, Designer, London SE13

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