The Newest Faculty Chair . . .
. . . really is a chair. June Ekman, a member of the thatre faculty since 1987 who teaches the Alexander Technique, has spent a decade creating, perfecting, patenting—and at last marketing—the Sit-A-Round chair. “It has really been a journey,” Ekman says, “all about being patient and never giving up. And so many people helped me to get there.”
The chair’s design, says Ekman, is “informed by the Alexander Technique,” but it grew from a simple idea: sitting like a baby.
“My friend Lucinda [Ziesing ’73] had a lovely baby, who cried and cried,” Ekman recalls. When they put her on a bouncing ball seat, the crying stopped. “I thought, ‘There’s something in that movement, in her body, on that ball.’ I began to think about creating a chair that’s really a ball, stabilized in some way that didn’t block the movement.”
For years, Ekman worked closely with a friend who’s a builder and craftsman to bring the design to life, then spent more years— and much sitting—refining it and finding a company to produce it. Now available for purchase, the Sit-A-Round is a version of the principle of “active sitting.” According to the product Web site it supports the weight of the pelvis and facilitates the proper use of the “sit bones,” encouraging an easeful distribution of weight. The inflated vinyl ball seat sends a continual subtle message to “move up,” which keeps the spine from slumping in a C curve. The ball responds individually to the weight and body movement of each user. Tension is released throughout the shoulders and back.
Ekman’s next challenge is developing “a proportioned chair for children, who tend to sit all day at computers.”