Product name designer tagline Variable balans

Variable™ Plus

The original kneeling chair
Peter Opsvik, 2021

Product Description

Variable™ Plus is an advancement of the iconic Variable™. Featuring a fixed backrest with an upholstered cushion, the chair inspires you to vary between a wider range of sitting positions, while still providing the unparalleled functionality of the original kneeling chair. The backrest provides support when leaning back, shift your weight forward and the shin cushions offer support while you focus on the task in front of you. The curvature of the wooden runners is optimized, ensuring that finding and holding a balanced position is both effortless and intuitive. Variable™ Plus is suitable for use by any standard height table. The chair is available in a natural or black finish, and a wide range of upholstery fabrics and colors. The wooden parts are made from layers of beech and ash veneer. 

Product Video Variable Plus

Peter Opsvik
Designer 

Peter Opsvik is a Norwegian industrial designer born in 1939, trained at the Bergen College of Applied Art and the Norwegian State College of Applied Art in Oslo. Opsvik has worked as a freelance industrial designer since 1970, and currently has his own design studio in Oslo, where he works with seven colleagues focusing on product design as a mean for solving real-life problems. Throughout his career, Opsvik has attempted to overcome our stereotypical sitting habits with his unconventional seating solutions. With a playful and human starting point, his work is a display of how norms of sitting nicely and sitting still can be broken.

Peter Opsvik
The balans® concept 

At the very beginning of 1976 Hans Christian Mengshoel (1946) initiated a study that set out to answer how we could sit in more balanced and ergonomic ways. Through observation and research, Mengshoel found that a seat which was tilted slightly forward, encouraged a natural posture which provided greater mobility and relieved unwanted pressure while seated. The idea of shin support was introduced to keep the user from sliding off the seat while simultaneously maintaining an open hip angle. With this, Mengshoel initiated the concept of the kneeling posture in Norway and set the mark for a truly experimental time in Norwegian design history.

Mengshoel invited designers Oddvin Rykken, Peter Opsvik and Svein Gusrud to design products based on the novel balans concept. The collaboration resulted in several experimental designs, where stereotypical views of sitting and seating where abandoned. A collection of balans prototypes were displayed at the 1979 Scandinavian Furniture Fair in Copenhagen, where they received significant attention. In 1984 the three designers and Mengshoel were awarded the Jacob Prize, the highest recognition granted to designers, architects and artists in Norway, for their original contributions.