Hit & Run: Sexiest thing in the office
Wednesday 03 March 2010
Are you sitting comfortably? I am, which is a first for a lanky loafer with a dodgy back, fidgety disposition and a posture more brute than ballerina. For a week I have been carpet-testing an office chair hailed by its makers as a revolution in workplace seating. Not very exciting, as revolutions go, but office furniture rarely is. Yet millions of us spend more time on our swivels than anywhere else bar our beds (if we're lucky).
The Generation by Knoll, to use my futuristic perch's full name, looks more bridge-of-the-Enterprise than Slough Trading Estate. It's the most striking thing on five casters since Herman Miller's Aeron rolled into the offices of the mid-Nineties.
Most conspicuous is the Generation's webbed back, an innovation seen in Miller's original "it" chair. Moulded in a stretchy polymer, it supports my back like a hammock of tightly-woven rubber bands. My bottom half perches on a seat that flexes as I shift my weight. The movement makes the chair feel almost flimsy at first but that's almost the point. "People don't sit in the front-on task posture all the time," says Benjamin Pardo, head of design at New York-based Knoll. "Most chairs tell you how to sit but we wanted something passive yet supportive."
Knoll and its design partners, New Zealand-based Formway, filmed office workers to determine our movements. Their findings support a shift away from the typist's posture (back straight, knees at 90 degrees). "The idea is dynamic seating with support," says Levent Caglar, ergonomist at the Furniture Industry Research Association. "Your best posture is your next posture."
It's too early to say if my productivity has increased but I'm comfy (smugly so, my colleagues attest). Any way I shift I feel supported and my wrists are freed by the armrests, which come forward to cosset my elbows while I type. I'm sold. If Pardo wants his Generation back, he'll have to wrest it from my hands. Simon Usborne
Don't cut 6. Turn off Radio 1
I don't listen to 6Music much. I don't listen to Thought For The Day either. But both ought to exist under a BBC that's meant to be a public service broadcaster. 6Music supports up-and-coming acts unlike any other station; you only need read the #Save6Music hashtags on the tweets of young bands to see that.
An idea: cut Radio 1 instead. BBC radio's flagship is not the vessel that gave berths to The Evening Session and John Peel. It mostly caters to the mainstream demographic of commercial broadcasters. So kick Moyles to Capital, send Fearne to Virgin, give Gilles Peterson George Lamb's 6Music slot, and retain Steve Lamacq, Guy Garvey, Tom Robinson and Stuart Maconie. Or move 6Music to FM and rename it Radio 1. Then the BBC's music discovery duties would fall to DJs with good taste, not Vernon Kay. Tim Walker
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