There is no shortage of ideas on how chairs can and should be, depending on where they are used. Regardless of shape, size, and style, however, a few standard elements are expected in every design. The chair has to be stable, of course, and it has to be comfortable to sit on for hours on end. The latter is particularly critical for office chairs which should add comfort and support to let people perform potentially tiresome tasks for long periods of time. Office chairs, particularly the swivel type ones, are notorious for being a pain in the back and a pain in the eyes. Unsurprisingly, this also presents the biggest opportunity for improvement, and a particular concept tries to modernize the casual chair design with one that goes with the flow of contours and lines.
Designer: Changgon Lee
Swivel chairs, probably because of their use in the office or in more casual places, seem to be designed more for mass production than any other consideration. Many aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, and most simply meet the function of a piece of furniture you can sit on and not much else. When you’re working all day on your desk, the last thing you need is a chair that makes the work even more tiresome, not to mention actually dangerous to your health.
The FLO concept tries to change the equation by designing the casual swivel chair as a more visually whole shape. Of course, the chair is actually made of different parts that you do have to assemble, but once connected, it would seem as if the chair came out of the factory as a single piece, except for the base and swivel cylinder, of course.
This design allows the eyes to smoothly follow the contour of the chair like flowing water, hence the name. Perhaps almost as a side effect, the overall design of the chair looks futuristic and something from a utopian office. The sleek form and twisting structures of the armrests and the bent shape of the backrest give it an almost otherworldly appearance, definitely not something that would fit in today’s office settings.
But while the FLO chair design concept is visually striking, it might come at the price of space efficiency and, more importantly, ergonomics. The structure of the chair is actually designed to provide more stability and durability, especially when leaning back, but the shape of the backrest itself might not be that comfortable after long hours of use.
The flow-centric design of the chair supposedly also has advantages in being able to support heavier loads without actually making the structure heavier in turn. This can hopefully be extended to using a variety of sustainable materials inside of typical plastics. The designer, for example, mentioned the use of resin and upholstery, but the door remains open for alternative materials as well. Despite the more unified shape, the unconventional shape of the chair’s parts will make packaging also unconventional, potentially taking up more room compared to flat-packed swivel chairs.