Nebula is a transforming chair concept that looks a tad uncomfortable at first glance

Furniture like chairs and beds are made for human comfort. After all, we place our bodies on them to achieve some physical rest, so it would make sense that these should not produce more discomfort in the body instead of reducing it. Not all chairs, however, have to be super comfortable, lest you regularly get tempted to sink into your office chair in the middle of the day. Some chairs specialize in one purpose or another, and few try to meet the wide range of needs that we have for these seats. This rather unorthodox design, however, tries to do exactly that, and it does so in a way that makes efficient use of space but also looks pretty non-ergonomic despite its stated design goals.

Designer: Lorenzo Spanu

Conventional chair designs have relatively flat seats and flat or slightly curved backs, sometimes cushioned with some soft materials. While this design is intended to help support the body in a seating position, it might not actually match the natural contours of the body. Our backs and posteriors, after all, aren’t flat, and our seats need to take that into account as well. The Nebula chair design concept, for example, tries to offer more ergonomic support for the body by using cylindrical pillows rather than rectangular ones with flatter surfaces.

Granted, it definitely doesn’t look comfortable, and some might question how ergonomic sitting on a round surface really is, but there is plenty of therapy and massage equipment that are designed in a similar fashion. More than just the shape of the pillows themselves, however, Nebula’s unique design is actually the way three of these pillows revolve around a central axis, almost like how planets revolve around a sun. This, in turn, allows the chair to take on slightly different arrangements that can support different seating forms for different occasions.

One such form, for example, is a kneeling chair where the person is half seated and half kneeling, a position that is seemingly becoming a fad. There’s a more traditional seat that has frontal support that may or may not get in the way of your typing. And, finally, there is the “comfort mode” that lets you lie on all three pillow cylinders, presumably for a more relaxing yet ergonomic posture. At the end of the day, you can also just “fold up” the chair and stow it away without taking up much space.

Admittedly, there might be some doubts on whether such a design is really ergonomic, not to mention comfortable. The Nebula design, however, does push the envelope and challenge traditional chair designs to accommodate changing work conditions. At the very least, this chair could force you to stand up and walk around every once in a while, which is always a good idea to prevent living a sedentary lifestyle.