Motility

seat of the week

Hydravion Berger by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann

A passage from Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski

“A well designed easy chair must accommodate not only relaxed sitting, but also havingĀ  a drink, reading, conversation, bouncing babies on the knee, dozing, and so on. It must permit the sitter to shift about and adopt a variety of positions. This changing of postures has a social function—so-called body language. It should be possible to lean forward (to express concern) or to recline backward (to indicate pensiveness); one should be able to sit primly (to show respect) or to lounge (to communicate informality or even disrespect). The ability to change positions also has an important physical function. The human body is not designed to stay in one position for extended periods; prolonged immobility adversely affects body tissues, muscles, and joints. Changes of position—crossing the legs, tucking one, or both, up under the body, even hanging a leg over the armrest—shift the weight from one part of the body to another, relieve the pressure and stress, and relax different muscle groups. Even the most perfectly designed seat will soon feel uncomfortable if such movement is restricted—as all airline passengers well know. Engineers call this tendency of the body to change positions motility.”