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.
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.