Now that our offices are everywhere, now that we remain in constant contact with … well … everyone, it seems there’s no end to the hours we are slumped over a device. If you’re alive and over the age of 22, it’s likely that your back and neck have at some point suffered the indignities of the modern age. Damn you, Steve Jobs! (Shakes MacBook Pro angrily at the sky).
We’d like to introduce you to a company called Venn Design. They make office chairs that aren’t actually chairs. These colorful balance balls keep our bodies happy. We’ve got them here at the Robb Vices offices, and, while a few staff members have rolled onto the floor during meetings, we’ve seen a definitely improvement in our spines and alignment.
We caught up with Founder/Creator Tyler Benner for a Thoughts on Taste and a little more illumination Venn Design.
How did your stability balls that can function as desk chairs come about?
In the summer of 2015, I found myself in a depressive low, burned out from overworking and failed ventures. I gave myself what I called an art project to help me with depressive symptoms by the meditation of making something with my hands. I had inspiration to make a spherical chair as I loved the shape and didn’t see any beautiful furniture that pulled it off. I saw how an exercise ball could be the bones of such an object, and set about making an upholstered version. Dozens of patterns and layers of material later, the Venn chair as it exists today was born.
I’ve always been interested in posture, though I have grown more acutely aware of how important it is in life.
Why should everyone be using them? What are the benefits?
Everyone needs to incorporate more movement into their lives. Sitting in overly supportive chairs suppresses the things humans are best at – moving.
I don’t have anything particularly against typical chairs, so long as you change things up regularly. If you are new to sitting on a Venn, it could be too much if you tried to sit on it all day. That is your body talking to you. Listen to your body!
Eventually, a Venn chair will help you learn a whole new way of sitting and working or hanging out with friends. You will work faster and smarter in shorter spurts, while also stretching and taking on many different body shapes. You might find your diet changes, or even your sleeping patterns and habits. You’ll feel a desire to go for walks to break up your day. A Venn chair is a reminder to align yourself with gravity and listen to what your body wants to do.
Is there a proper way to position yourself on one? Can we use it incorrectly? What about the height of our desk or laptop? Should we consider that?
I love this question! No, I don’t believe there is an incorrect way to use one. And as far as the height of our desk and computer screen, probably the only incorrect height is the one that stays the same all the time. Anything that promotes your neck craning forward and curving your thoracic spine for extended periods staring at a screen is generally a bad idea.
You actually trained for the Olympics in archery! Can you tell us a bit about that? How did you get started in the sport and do you still compete?
I am very fortunate and blessed to have experiences in archery that saw me representing the United States around the world at international competitions and live at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. I started competing in 2000 and quickly made the junior US team, winning national championships and titles.
Through 2008, I shot 750,000 arrows cumulatively and trained and competed with the best in the world. I learned about success and defeat. When I stopped competing, I wrote a textbook with my coach, the world-renown Kisik Lee. The book was and is a beautiful catharsis and giving back to the sport that has given me so much.
Where can we purchase a Venn Design stability ball, and do they come in certain sizes, colors and prices?
Our chairs come in two sizes, with color and pattern options to suit all types. Should you have your own distinctive style in mind, please send us a message as we consider customer supplied fabrics for special projects. Floor pads and sitting cushions start at $99, while Venn chairs start at $289.
Find them here, Robb Vices members!