Health By Design is a small family run business located in Columbia, Missouri that designs and builds handmade furniture for folks that want to stay active as they work. Those who tend to sit cross-legged at their workstations and prefer sitting on the floor at home are among our most avid fans.
Designer and founder, Pack Matthews, was frustrated with how conventional ergonomic chairs left him in pain and offered no options for changing position while working at the computer. Collaborating with friends, a physical therapist, yoga instructors, fine woodworkers, and industrial engineers, Pack developed Health By Design’s first product, the Soul Seat. The solution Pack devised is so innovative, you’ll find it registered with the US Patent Office.
After using his Soul Seat for a few months, Pack found he was more comfortable sitting on the floor and adding poses to his yoga practice that had eluded him for years. Finding himself reluctant to leave this newfound comfort of the floor, the next item added to Health By Design’s stable was a floor desk. With this product, Pack’s dream of never needing a conventional chair again became a reality. Now he starts his the day on his yoga mat, switching to work on the computer, and ending the day stretching on the yoga mat before bed without ever having to use a conventional chair.
Because we produce our products with local craftspeople, we are able to respond to customer’s desires for customization. Our chairs and floor desks are delighting active sitters from Australia to Europe, from Canada to Puerto Rico, and all over the United States.
Our purpose is to design movement back into our daily work even as our computers gobble up more and more of our physical effort. Our chairs and floor desks are designed to help computer engineers stay active even as their coding makes wires evaporate into the cloud. Our furniture allows the student, the accountant, the videographer to move their legs and pelvis while their attention remains riveted to the monitor. We also want to see our health leverage the cloud by having the workplace be as flexible as our networks. We want to make it as easy to move tasks to the floor, and back to a table, and then on to a standing position as easily as possible.
In the process of designing our products and observing them in use, we’ve also discovered that there are more than external barriers to activity. Those barriers are internal as well - mental, emotional, and physical. One of the internal barriers is the shortened psoas from years of conventional sitting. Our products are designed to give the psoas maximum length and activity while we do our knowledge work. Our floor desks help us imagine working in many different positions, orientations, and locations. We should be able to preserve the same flexibility in our bodies. Can our minds and networks remain as flexible as our tools? Can we change our habits as quickly as our wireless networks evolve?