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Which arm tires first? An encounter with the winner of the world’s best design in 100 years – Peter Opsvik

NB: As you read this article, I ask you to perform a short and simple test. Try holding both arms outstretched at a right angle to your body. Now keep one still whilst continuously moving the other arm in circles.

Peter Opsvik is a Norwegian industrial designer who is the most recent winner of the best design in 100 years for his Tripp Trapp chair. On our recent Scandinavian trip, we were fortunate enough to not only meet the world-renowned designer, but hear first hand just how he has created a revolution which has resulted in some of the best-selling ergonomic chairs in history.

Peter’s enthusiasm and passion for people, design and movement emanates the second you walk into his space. We were greeted with a warm welcome followed by a private saxophone performance by the man (and jazz legend) himself, before embarking on a unique journey through the history of the Homo sapien.

Defying the traditional notion of ‘sit still’, often instilled in us from an early school age, Peter explained how he has designed all of his products to encourage movement while sitting.

With radically improving technology, it has become inevitable that we move less and less. We are welcomed through electronic doors, transported up floors via escalators or lifts, even the increase in automatic cars is reducing the opportunity for movement throughout the body.

‘Sitting devices primarily intended for applications where users are seated over longer periods must be characterized as tools, and it is important to develop these in a way that minimizes the negative impact the tool may have on the user.’ – Peter Opsvik.

During his years as a designer, Peter has developed a number of key principles to do exactly that. One of which is the balanced tilt, enabled by an open centre-tilt mechanism used frequently in his designs.

This mechanism encourages movement while sitting by allowing the chair to tilt forwards and backwards in sync with the user, ensuring they are always in a natural, balanced position. This movement subsequently stimulates blood circulation throughout the legs, heart and brain, contributing to user comfort and health.

Peter focuses on each part of the human body and incorporates elements which encourage movement in all these areas in every one of his designs. The foot plates are one example of how Peter’s designs encourage movement of the feet, with this feature enabling the user to comfortably alternate between outstretched legs to the legs being closer to the body and slightly elevated.

It is possible to go on for hours and hours detailing the magnificent mind of Mr Peter Opsvik and the in depth understanding he holds of human ergonomics.
However, if you are interested to know more, and to learn how to gain the full benefits of your task chair, consider attending one of our Chair Fit workshops held regularly at our Brisbane showroom.

We are so grateful to have met the genius himself, and to experience his charismatic personality, and look forward to sharing his knowledge and teachings with you.

Now, with reference to above, I must finish by asking you, which arm tired first?

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