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Rethinking Sitting

Peter Opsvik (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

A Scandinavian furniture designer offers insight into his thinking about sitting and explains the philosophy that informs his pioneering chairs.

For millions of years humans have led physically active lives. In recent centuries, however, industrialization has fostered passivity and the growing predominance of the sitting posture for more and more people. Increasingly, chairs and furniture for sitting have become standard pieces of equipment in the workplace, institutions, and private homes. These sitting devices were designed according to the established standard of the chair, based on the accepted western manner of sitting.

In Rethinking Sitting, Scandinavian industrial designer Peter Opsvik addresses the issue of whether this is the only, and functionally best, design for the human body. When the various authorities on ergonomics promote their one and only “correct” sitting posture, he says all of them are right: Every recommended sitting posture is good. Opsvik sees it as his task to design chairs that allow as many different sitting postures as possible and make it easy to move and change frequently between positions.

In this beautifully illustrated reference Opsvik offers insight into his thinking on the subject of sitting and explains the philosophy that informs his furniture designs. Rethinking Sitting contains important information for everyone who is interested, for professional, educational, or personal reasons, in sitting solutions.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • May 2009
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73288-7
  • 8.4 × 9.5 in / 208 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Through vibrant sketches, prototypes and photos, he illustrates this concept over and over again: the body moves and the chair conforms….Opsvik's relentless functionalism serves as a crash course for any would be ergonomic designer. It's about enough to make any cubicle jockey want to move to Scandinavia.” — Robert Blinn, Core 77

Rethinking Sitting shows off some of Opsvik's ordinary and unorthodox designs and provides a succinct seating and design history, while also suggesting dynamic solutions for the future....offers an honest alternative to furniture's status quo.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“While designers and ergonomic engineers will value the author’s discussions of balance and the Balans principle, general audiences can appreciate the unusual designs and practical thought behind this volume.” — Book News

“[A] landmark, a copiously illustrated review of one of the most diverse collections of seating ever created by one person, linking his designs with a dynamic theory of the needs of the body, mind, and society. . . . It's ideas not only about sitting but about changing patterns of living and working should reward both professional and lay readers interested in the human environment.” — Winterthur Portfolio

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