Seeing What's Not There
Why couldn't a desk do that?
Designers innovate by observing how things are and mulling over what might be. That's how Envelop began. When the late Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber were designing the Embody chair, they became acutely aware of an unsolved problem: the lack of physical harmony between us and the computers with which we spend large portions of our days.
They began to consider the small universe of the chair, the worksurface, and the surrounding environment. While working on their idea that a chair could have positive effects on the seated body, they began to understand that even the best office chair can't do it all and to focus on the problem of the static surface. Which led them to rethink the concept of a work desk. Why did computer users have to move their laptops, keyboards, and monitors manually as they tried to maintain the right position and angle while sitting or standing?
Creating the Solution
Bill and Jeff began to see the chair and desk as a single system that could minimize musculoskeletal stress. Their aim was to create an adjustable interface between the two to accommodate the user's preferred patterns of postures and movements.
After Bill passed away, Envelop became Jeff''s project and he was responsible for most of the work that produced the final product. It represents both a great leap forward in ergonomic design and a logical continuation of Bill and Jeff's ideas about the body in work postures that had been guiding them for years.
The Problem With Computers
Bill and Jeff pondered the question of why people—even when sitting in the best ergonomic office chairs—still often had a tendency to hunch over like turtles when working at computers.
The different postures a person assumes continuously while seated throughout the day disrupt the relationship between the face and the computer plane. So computer users hunch, crouch, lean in toward that glowing screen. And the whole body follows suit, leading to back and neck pain, eyestrain, and fatigue.