There are basically four types of ball chair. There is the original ball chair designed by Eero Aarnio in 1963, the suspended ball chair, usually referred to as a bubble chair by the same designer; the exercise ball in a frame, which is ostensibly for the gym or home use and a refined version of the gym exercise ball for office use.
The authentic ball chair was designed by Eero Aarnio, because he had just gone freelance and so was working from home. He did not want to shut himself away from his family, but he also desired some peace and quiet in order to work. His idea was the ball chair. It is basically a ball on a revolving pedestal with a segment cut away. The inside of the ball is lavishly upholstered in fabric or leather.
It became a 'room within a room'. He installed a telephone even to early models and over the years other refinements have been added also, such as stereo and MP3. It is a hybrid between an office chair and a personal booth. It is certainly relaxing to sit inside and listen to music while pondering life, but is perhaps only for home use.
A similar design also by Eero Aarnio is a suspended ball chair made of transparent material. This too offers a private cocooned world to the user, even if there are many others near-by. It too is not a serious office chair in my opinion or it could only be used for a home office.
The simple exercise ball chair consists of an inflatable ball inside a crude low frame which is on four or five casters. The fact that the inflated ball moves with your every movement, means that you have to keep your balance carefully or the chair will slide out from beneath you. Maintaining your balance like that will give you mild exercise, keep your circulation good, correct bad posture and keep you alert.
The refined ball office chair works on the same idea, but it has a back rest and arm rests.These chairs are modifiable for height by inflating or deflating the ball as necessary. This clearly makes the weight of the occupant of the chair an important factor in selecting the correct ball office chair for you, despite the fact that all ball office chairs are sold with a pump.
After all, there is only so much air you can pump into a balloon, isn't there? Conversely, there is only so much air you can let out before it ceases to be a ball chair any more. Therefore, you have to have some idea of the size of the sitter before you buy a ball office chair. The perfect sitting position with a ball office chair, as with any other chair, is with your feet flat on the ground and your thighs parallel to the floor.
The theory of the ball office chair makes sense and most of those who have used them say that they work well and are amusing to sit in. The only problem many users cited was ridicule from their co-workers.
Owen Jones, the writer of this piece, writes on many topics, but is currently involved with leather reclining chairs
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