Alcyone: The Standing Chair Designed by Tetsuo Shibata

Revolutionizing Office Seating with Movement and Flexibility

Inspired by the adverse effects of sedentary work on the human body, Tetsuo Shibata, renowned designer, created Alcyone, a groundbreaking standing chair that promotes movement and flexibility while working. With its unique design and innovative features, Alcyone aims to revolutionize office seating and improve the health and well-being of individuals.

Shibata's inspiration for Alcyone stemmed from his personal experience of working in an office environment for many years and witnessing the detrimental impact of prolonged sitting on physical health. Extensive research has shown that extended periods of sitting can lead to various medical ailments, including round back, peripheral edema, and swayback. Determined to address this issue, Shibata set out to design a chair that would enable individuals to keep their bodies in motion while working at their desks, both in the office and at home.

What sets Alcyone apart from traditional chairs is its emphasis on maintaining good posture and allowing for continuous leg movement. Shibata faced the challenge of designing a chair with a backrest that accommodates individuals of all heights and can be seamlessly integrated into existing workspaces. Additionally, he wanted the seat to be adjustable in height, as well as capable of twisting sideways, enabling users to exercise their lower body and hip muscles regularly.

The realization of Alcyone involved the use of a twisting metal frame to support the somewhat upright seat position. Shibata experimented with various materials and found that bent basswood compromised the chair's structural integrity. The sinuous curve of the metal base frame was ultimately chosen to provide ample space for individuals to sit and stand, while securely holding the seat in place.

Alcyone's technical specifications include a frame width of 813 mm at the widest portion of the base, a frame depth of 559 mm from the ankle section to the back of the base, and a height of 1067 mm. The seat measures 508 mm in width, while the backrest is 343 mm at its widest point. The lowest variable seat height at the center is 584 mm, while the highest is 864 mm.

One of the key advantages of Alcyone is its versatility. It can be used as a standing chair by raising the seat, or as a conventional chair by lowering it. This is made possible by the high memory foam inside the removable cushion, which creates a personalized seat when compressed. To move the chair, users simply tilt it backward until the castors engage and then push it forward.

Shibata dedicated countless hours to the design, scale modeling, and full-scale mock-up of Alcyone, starting in August 2018 and completing it in October 2019. Computer rendering of the project was finalized in late January 2020. Throughout the process, Shibata conducted extensive research, consulting with physical therapists, studying health and science articles, and exploring metal fabrication shops.

The design of Alcyone presented several challenges, with the most significant being the development of a mechanism for height adjustment. Shibata meticulously sketched weight transfer paths and utilized a three-inch scale model to refine the details of the mechanism and the shape of the metal frame. The result is a chair that not only functions flawlessly but also exhibits a visually appealing aesthetic.

Alcyone embodies Shibata's vision of simulating the quality and natural form of the human body. By incorporating movements that individuals naturally perform throughout the day, such as sitting, standing, twisting, and stretching, the chair promotes good posture, flexibility, and an active lifestyle. It aims to improve health and increase productivity in the workplace.

Recognizing its exceptional design and practicality, Alcyone was awarded the prestigious Iron A' Design Award in 2020. This accolade is bestowed upon well-designed, practical, and innovative creations that meet professional and industrial requirements. Alcyone's integration of industry best practices, competent technical characteristics, and contribution to a better world make it a truly deserving recipient of this esteemed award.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Tetsuo Shibata
Image Credits: Tetsuo Shibata
Project Team Members: Tetsuo Shibata
Project Name: Alcyone
Project Client: Tetsuo Shibata

Alcyone IMG #2
Alcyone IMG #3
Alcyone IMG #4
Alcyone IMG #5
Alcyone IMG #5

Read More on Design Radiant