Products That Work

What's Good for the Body is Good for the Mind

Sponsored content by VS AMERICA

The B1 Chair, designed for VS by Peter Brown, AIA, is the first chair designed to open your mind by opening your body. No other chair flexes like the B1. Using double cantilevers and the natural spring of bent steel, the chair shifts forward and leans back at the same time. This dual flexing action allows the B1 to respond to the body’s natural movement.

Research shows when the body is moving, the mind stays alert. “Opening the torso and hips while sitting is healthy, active movement that enhances brain performance,” indicates Dr. Dieter Breithecker, a leading Health and Kinetic scientist, ”The B1 Chair does this like no other chair.”

Sitting puts pressure on the spine and muscles, which leads to fatigue and lower productivity. On average, people cannot sit still for more than 25 minutes, and they shouldn’t. The B1 gives people the wiggle room that they need to think, create and innovate.

In creating a brief for the new chair, VS described a product that would bring ergonomics and design into higher education learning environments. To meet this challenge, VS asked Peter Brown to design the chair and bring his knowledge of designing for educational environments.

With many existing chair designs in the market, Peter knew that a simple, yet innovative, idea would be required to meet the brief. “Today, educational spaces are increasingly sophisticated, both from aesthetic and performance perspectives. The new VS chair not only had to work perfectly but do it beautifully,” he observes. Adding to the ergonomic function, Peter wanted a chair that could move between classrooms and auditoriums, conference rooms and media centers, seminar rooms and side chairs. To do this, the chair needed a design that could be sophisticated and formal, as well as fun and playful.

B1 is truly the best of both worlds. An agile chair that is elegant enough for work environments, but also with the functionality and durability for the education market.

Working closely with Dr. Breithecker to understand how the body naturally moves, Peter developed concepts around a chair that could shift forward and lean back, at the same time. “In our research,” explains Mr. Brown, “we discovered that most multipurpose chairs in the ergonomic category allow either a shift forward function or lean back, but not both.” The development team, including Dr. Breithecker and German engineers, then worked to create a chair that would be efficient to execute, meet quality demands of learning spaces, and have an elegant design that could be relevant in many different educational spaces.

“We started the B1 with an idea about being human,” describes Peter, “We set out to create a chair designed for comfort and productivity. A chair that moves with the body. Unlike any other chair, the B1’s double cantilever enables the body to shift forward and backward. That flexibility opens up the hips, torso and the mind. A new shift in thinking for chair design? Absolutely.”

The B1 Chair. Shift forward. Lean Back. Open up.

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of College Planning & Management.

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