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Tired of sitting or standing? I ran into the Locus chair at SXSW, which offers people a happy medium of leaning on a tractor-style seat. Lean in, y’all. Lean in.

Focal Upright Furniture Martin Keen

Workers have been standing up for their health as the standing desk trend has accelerated. But at South by Southwest Interactive I ran into a former shoe company founder who has turned from footwear to furniture. Martin Keen (pictured), the founder of Keen shoes, has been sitting in a refurbished tractor chair attached to a pole since 1995 as a way to boost his creativity and avoid sitting at a desk.

Once he sold his shoe business, he decided to focus on something different and founded the Focal Upright Furniture Co., which offers both leaning chairs as well as a desk system to complement it. Keen was at SXSW showing it off, so I tried it out.

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I found the $100 version of the leaning chair — designed for travel and bringing to events — uncomfortable, but the full $2,600 desk and chair combo was really nice. I liked being able to rock back and forth and wished I could have sat there for an hour or two to get a full-on taste of what it might be like to work at one of these desks all day. I could use the Locus chair ($700) in combination with my existing sit-stand desk to cut my costs, but that’s still a pricey chair. It’s in use at Google and a few other firms, but is mostly selling to consumers now.

Keen said a larger retail distribution strategy is in the works for this year. I think I’ll set an IFTTT alert on Craigslist for the Locus chair and see if I can find it for less so I can add it to my current office. I do tend to perform better standing up, but I also tend to feel a bit faint after a while. Being able to rest and rock might be the happy medium.

  1. Sounds ok as long as you don’t have to worry about being on your feet all day and swelling around the ankles.


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