To engineer a chair that is as beautiful as it is functional, technologically innovative, medically beneficial and virtually indestructible is not something you can do sitting down. Swiss neurologist-cum-designer Dr. Patrik Künzler and his partner Ben Fluri, a former Judo champion turned industrial designer, have taken on this critical feat. The LimbIC Chair, their ultra-ergonomic, sleek sitting system—seemingly straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation—is a cutting-edge, technologically intense piece that’s designed to revolutionize sitting as we know it.
The LimbIC Chair is a bona fide celebration of function and form, external beauty and divine design. Its sophisticated look recalls the fantastical sci-fi aesthetic of Zaha Hadid combined with the exalted neo-minimalism of a MacBook Pro. At first sight, the invention seems a mathy metaphor, reflecting a unique geometry of complex and curve-linear form. Crafted from made to measure carbon fiber, high-grade aluminum and steel, the hypnotically sinuous exoskeleton provides both a seat-back that inclines backwards and has a lumbar support that is critical to prevent lower back tension. The designers have even made it 100% customizable, so dimensions can be scaled and tailored to personal preference.
Dr. Künzler, who researched the limbic system (the region of the brain that governs emotions) at MIT sought to apply his research findings in order to optimize contentedness through better workplace ergonomics. Fluri, meanwhile, had pursued design with a focus on interior décor after sustaining an injury in a Judo competition. Their shared interest in physiology subsequently culminated in Zurich-based design company, Inno-Motion AG, where the two have been collaborating on the development of luxurious, avant-garde life-style and interface products since 2009.
The groundbreaking LimbIC Chair makes you feel as if you’re floating—conferring all the freedom of movement and motion, while directly stimulating the structures in the brain for which it’s named. The result is a euphoric, exciting sitting experience in a chair that is as therapeutic as it is stylish. “Our aim is to induce feelings of happiness while in the LimbIC. . . it works with your sense of touch, movement and balance in a way that subconsciously gives positive feedback to your brain (by elevating levels of endorphins and serotonin). This in turn helps you to simultaneously focus and relax while being more productive and happy,” explains Künzler.
Design-wise, Künzler and Fluri abandon modernist orthodoxy in place of a hybrid aesthetic based on what appears to be motion, change and a preponderance of functionalism: the chair’s shell takes on qualities of three-dimensional infinity while serving the empirically tested purpose of transferring body weight and supporting the lumbar to decrease disc (lower back) pressure. “The chair is really about promoting one’s own subjective comfort and serving as an interface between the user and his or her work environment,” Künzler adds.
The combination of Künzler’s thirst for co-relating brain science with workplace efficacy and Fluri’s solid talent for designing slick new-age objects is perfectly complementary. The dynamic duo has blended technical savvy to create an impossibly cool chair that incorporates neurophysiology, cutting-edge fabrication and advanced ergonomics. The result: a stupendously intelligent and well-engineered seat for sitting, living and working that might even make Captain Jean-Luc Picard more sedentary.