Sometimes when two people meet, great things happen. And sometimes they don’t. On the 10th November 1871, a journalist named Henry Stanley met an explorer named David Livingstone on the shore of lake Tanganyika, and the brief and rather dull conversation that followed has, for some reason, become very well known. Other than that, nothing much happened.
Some time later, in 1985 at a furniture fair in Oslo, a Norwegian ergonomist by the name of Dr Tvedt met a Swedish furniture maker, Rolf Holstensson. The words of the conversation have not been recorded for comedy sketch shows of the future to pour over, but the result has, although you’ve probably never heard of it.
Tvedt had been employed by the Norwegian airforce to look at jet plane seats and their pilots. Very little work was being done on how a seat works with the human body. Tvedt installed a small cushion between the shoulder blades. This opened the chest and helped with breathing and extended a pilots flying time from 60 to 70 minutes.
Holstensson was impressed. His company, RH had been making chairs designed for human performance in the office since 1977. His son Lasse, wondered how much it could extend a working day, if it could extend something as intense as flying time by 10 minutes.
And so in 1987 the Tvedt cushion became a part of the new RH Logic chair, and is still today a feature across their range. You’d probably not notice it was there, and the difference it makes on it’s own is probably quite small. But it is a great example of how much thought and detail has gone into making a chair that makes a real difference to your work and your health. You can buy chairs that are cheaper. Much cheaper. But a lot less thought has gone into the design of them. A lot less. And the benefit you’ll get from them?
You can presume it’ll be a lot less too.