“Sitting is not bad for you, it’s sitting still.” ~Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times.
- encourages movement
- stimulates circulation
- improves posture & spine health
- strengthens core & back muscles
- increases focus & body awareness
- burns calories
- eases (erases) back pain
- AND IT'S COMFORTABLE!
HOW'S YOUR BACK?
If you sit for a living, chances are that it’s not great. Even if your back’s fine, all that sitting takes its toll in ways that even exercise won’t reverse.
If you’re stuck in a chair without movement, the first thing a health professional will likely say is that, the problem isn't your back, the problem’s that you sit all day.
Without movement, your back and core muscles become weak, your metabolism slows down, you lose energy and the ability to focus. Who wants that?
THE SOLUTION IS ACTIVE SITTING
Exercise balls are awkward and bulky. And those ‘exercise ball in a metal frame’ chairs — that removes the one great feature of sitting on a ball — movement!
High end ‘ergonomic’ chairs, sit-stand & treadmill desks cost well over $1,000 -- and even then they don't address all of the needs of active sitting.
The Språng Chair offers the MOST benefits at a fraction of the cost.
BENEFITS TO BE STUDIED THIS FALL
Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory, Cornell University
Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University's renowned Human Factors and Ergonomics Labroratory, has invited me to present the chair to his graduate class; exact date of the ensuing project is pending.
Early enthusiasm for the chair design concept has been expressed by Professor Hedge. After viewing the video of the chair’s manufacture and use, Dr. Hedge wrote, “I think your chair design concept addresses many benefits; and rethinking the back support design concept is a big plus."
I HACKED MY CHAIR, AND HEALED MY BACK!
It was almost two years ago that I switched out my expensive "ergonomic" mesh office chair for the original Språng prototype. In that time I’ve been thrilled to discover:
- My back is more stable -- it doesn’t lock up, spasm, or go out anymore.
- That stiffness after sitting for long stretches? GONE! In fact, after a few hours of sitting, when I stand up I feel energized.
- I regained strength & flexibility – I don’t have to “brace myself” before bending or lifting something (or even before sneezing!)
- I’m more aware of my posture – even when sitting in other, static chairs, I don't slouch.
- I'VE LOST W·E·I·G·H·T! (While I don’t have the scientific proof that the chair is the sole cause, I stopped using the Språng Chair for 3 months while it was disassembled for further prototyping – and gained 5 lbs back in that short time. (The good news – I’ve lost 11 lbs since I was able to start using it again. The bad news – 3 months without Språng-ing caused my back to go out again.) :(
SO... WHAT'S A Språng?
First off, the pronunciation: Språng rhymes with strong. (And it'll make your back and core stronger!)
It’s Swedish – the noun form of leap, spring, bound, jump – perfect for a chair designed to be inherently active, as well as a leap forward for active sitting!
(And we love how the å with the ring is reminiscent of the chair itself.)
THINK GEAR, NOT FURNITURE
Gear is what you use when you're active. Furniture -- would you trust your health to your armoire? And like gear -- the Språng Chair is infinitely adjustible.
- Tighten the bungees by pulling them through the patent pending locking tubes for a stiffer ride.
- Open the quick release levers to swing the back out of the way, or to get it exactly where you need support.
- Inflate the ball for a higher seat, or even slide the ball forward or backward under the seat, to change the pitch and center of gravity.
- Active sitting means active comfort -- the more you move, the less pressure, discomfort and fatigue you'll feel.
- Like gear, the Språng chair is interACTIVE too. As you develop strength and flexibility and become more aware of your body's biomechanics, the more ways you'll discover to sit.
EXERCISE DOES NOT COUNTERACT THE EFFECTS OF PASSIVE SITTING
Cutting edge actual SCIENCE has found that sedentary behavior shortens your telomeres (you know, the connective ends of your chromosomes) and, the shorter your telomeres, the older your "cell" age, and the more you're at risk for health complications.
To quote the New York Times: "Reducing sedentary time had lengthened telomeres, the scientists concluded, while exercising had played little role...In fact, the volunteers in the exercise group who had worked out the most during the past six months tended now to have slightly less lengthening and even some shortening..."
So, if you sit, the only way to keep your cells young and healthy, is to sit actively.
IT’S A NEW LOOK FOR AN OFFICE CHAIR
While inspired by Danish Modern design, the graceful curves of Eames Chairs, the Språng Chair is foremost about FUNCTION.
We chose furniture-grade birch because it's sustainable, sturdy, and attractive. Even with its solid build and many moving parts, the Språng Chair is easy to assemble and lightweight enough to be lifted with one hand.
Every piece of hardware is substantially stronger than necessary – and LOW TECH! We’ve made it a point not to use expensive molds, complicated parts with a potential to fail or the inability to easily be replaced, and to manufacture in the USA!
And even though my focus was on FUNCTION, I'm pretty happy with the form too!
COLORS AND FINISHES
For now, we’re offering the Språng Chair in two wood finishes, natural blonde birch, and walnut-brown.
The walnut stain will be hand applied and costs a bit more, which is why we’re offering it at a higher reward level.
The natural blonde comes with a UV finish, making the application 100% VOC free. The fabric is a high-end performance material with just enough stretch to to stand up to the hundreds of thousands of hours of active sitting you’re going to do in this chair.
Check out these great color combinations.
THE ONLY WAY TO SIT ON AN EXERCISE BALL.
The Språng Chair builds on the key benefits of sitting on a ball by itself – core engagement, and movement – in so many ways.
COMFORT – the Språng Chair's contoured seat, triple-cushioned with 3 different densities of foam, distributes your weight evenly (and breathes, unlike a rubber ball.)
LUMBAR SUPPORT – with the fully articulated, spring-loaded back, slouching and poor posture become a thing of the past.
POSTURE - due to the way the seat tilts over the ball, acting like a fulcrum and opening the pelvic angle, everyone who sits on the Språng Chair rediscovers their body's natural good posture. It was there all along! (Whereas most people find the exercise ball alone is pretty much a slouch-machine.)
BALANCE – the seat is a combination of stable and unstable -- unstable enough that you're mindfully (and proprioceptively) aware that you're sitting. Yet, it’s so well balanced that you can lift your legs off the floor and do little crunches, right from your desk.
ACTIVE MOVEMENT – the bungee cords work on the same principal as resistance bands, offering something to push and pull against. Plus the Språng chair is effectively pre-tensioned, so that movement in any direction activates a natural inclination to push and pull against the springy tension.
IT'S A GREAT VALUE!
BUT DON'T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
The Språng Chair can accommodate anyone from 4'9" to 6’7” by a combination of over-inflating or under-inflating the exercise ball, removing the casters, or adding our height extension riser kit (please indicate on your survey after the campaign if you are over 6'4" and require the riser kit.)
- Seat Height Adjustment: 13″ to 20.5″
- Seat Depth Adjustment: 10” to 18”
- Seat Width: 18.5”
- Lumbar Support Width: 15.5″
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
THE GRATITUDE SECTION:
It took a tremendous amount of work to get the Språng Chair and the Kickstarter campaign to this point and I am grateful for, and indebted to the generosity, input, inspiration and insights of many!
►Alan Wetmore -- CounterTech | CNC milling, production planning & prototyping.
►Masaki Schuette -- Designer & Master Sewer | Ball cover construction & prototyping & fabric consultation.
►Jackie Lau -- Sourcing Expert | Hardware & exercise ball sourcing.
►Dr. Rich Gorsuch, DC -- Cheshire Wellness Center, Keene NH | Consulting spinal / whole body wellness expert.
►Lara Darrow -- Vermont Yoga & Psychotherapy | Consulting yoga / somatic movement expert.
Brattleboro VT Unit:
►Angus Reid -- amazing final edit, vfx, green screen, yoga & beauty photography.
►Garret Harkawik -- interview & beauty photography, story consultant.
►Bill Forchion -- talent direction & production supervision.
►Kat Lloyd -- story & video consultant.
►Zeb, Ukoiya & Ben -- circus performer / chair models.
Park Slope Brooklyn Unit:
►Michael Uys -- interview & “man on the street” direction.
►Sam Henriques -- stunning documentary video footage.
►Howie, Jessica, Susie, Jackie, Alfred, Hedy, Sophia, Gretchen & Hardy
►Artworks Services -- graphic design production support
►Kim Glover -- logo development & consultation
VERY SPECIAL THANKS to my friends and family for all of your encouragement and support, & for humoring me when I showed up with “the chair” at Thanksgiving, weddings, funerals, town fairs, dinner parties, farmers markets…. Or anyplace else I’m forgetting.
And for the support of the amazing team at Funded Today for their wisdom, insights, and faith in this project.
Risks and challenges
Risks, Challenges, (and Assurances)
The Språng Chair is simple and sturdy by design, so that we can produce a short run while guaranteeing great quality; and we have the resources to scale quickly.
With over 8 years in my role as Creative Director and chief product engineer at Tree-Free Greetings, I’ve had abundant experience working with local CNC & cabinetry fabricators to build custom displays. So I understand what it takes to craft quality wood pieces. And my responsibility for overall quality control, as well as product packaging & shipping, has given me intimate familiarity with the intricacies of fulfilling orders, freight and material costs, and the management, labor and warehousing necessary to bring it all together.
My previous career as a Property Master for I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 in New York City gave me deep, hands-on knowledge of creative problem solving. I was continuously working with new and different materials and hardware, and I developed the skills to explore and innovate. Coming up with simple, elegant solutions, using the materials and tools at hand, became my focus, and my forté.
That background as a skilled craftsperson is complemented by a parallel film industry career as a producer / production manager. Those roles provided the expertise in sourcing, costing, budgeting, scheduling as well as assembling a team quickly -- all necessary for this project to stay on schedule and on budget.
In studying some other recent Kickstarter projects, we have planned the production process specifically to avoid:
• Unneccesary delays
• Costly / unanticipated shipping costs
• Quality and performance issues, including hardware failures
To address these risks, we’ve designed the Språng Chair to meet the following requirements:
1. All wood parts can be easily milled and finished on a CNC router.
2. The chair will ship flat, with minimal assembly required.
3. The chair's wood frame – premium grade FSC Baltic Birch plywood - is readily available.
4. The chair and seat-back are seam-free, using performance-stretch fabric that contours to the foam forms, thus minimizing fabrication time.
5. The ball-cover has been simplified to 3 seams, so that only minimal, cost effective sewing will be required.
6. The anti-burst PVC exercise ball is extra-thick and has undergone over 1000 hours of testing.
7. The abrasion-resistant premium shock cord (bungee cord) has undergone over 13,000 hours of constant and varied stretch – with no shearing or weakening in performance.
8. All materials and hardware are high quality but low-tech. If anything breaks or is defective, replacement parts are readily available and easy for the end user to obtain and make adjustments with.
9. MADE IN THE USA (within a few miles from my office) so I can oversee every aspect of production and quality control.
The main challenge will be throughput. Access to warehouse and fulfillment space for assembly are available for fast utilization. Staying on schedule if demand is high will be essential, and a key factor of success. And there is space and capacity at other CNC mills if demand is great.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)