I Designed My Own Ergonomic Furniture and I’m Never Going Back
Who says chic can’t be comfortable?
If there's one good thing I can say about this quarantine, it's that working from home has made my commute ridiculously easy (it’s about 10 steps from my bed to my laptop to be exact). Avoiding the horrendous NYC subway system is a major plus of the pandemic, but my sedentary lifestyle has also come with some considerable downsides. I’ve been lounging around on couches a lot more than normal—which has since culminated into cramped muscles and one very sore back.
It’s not that my couch is uncomfortable per se, but I definitely bought my black-and-gold studded pick because of its looks, not its comfort factor. Because of that, sitting on it for anything over an hour causes my back to tense up.
After about a couple months of back cracking and (sort of) helpful yoga stretches, I decided to finally give ergonomic furniture a whirl. The concept has obviously been around for a while, but since I was almost never at home pre-quarantine, I never really felt the need to opt into customized furniture. Now that I spend the majority of my day on the couch, I decided to check into the market and see what was out there.
I ran into a lot of different options (the majority being office chairs) that cater to ergonomic furniture, but the problem was that most of them were, well, kind of ugly. I really wanted whatever furniture piece I got to match the aesthetic of my apartment, which proved to be a difficult task in the ergonomic space.
That’s when I discovered Model No. Furniture, a newer brand that launched last year with the intent to change the furniture industry. Unlike a lot of other companies that rely on wasteful methods of production, they use 3-D printing and digital fabrication to create completely sustainable pieces. 3-D printed items are traditionally made with petroleum-based plastics, but Model No. actually makes their stuff from plants—specifically from biopolymers and plant-based resins that provide the flexibility of customization without the need for harmful petrochemicals.
These materials are sourced from the non-edible remains of agricultural crops, which further reduces waste and lets them upcycle “scrap” materials. Plus, all their wood is harvested using local species, meaning no deforestation or clear-cutting is involved. In addition to aesthetics, sustainability is something that is pretty important to me, so this was a huge appeal.
Ergonomic couches are rare, so I was elated to see that they offered a chaise, which was exactly the size I needed—big enough for my entire body to lounge on but small enough to fit inside my city apartment. The wavy, abstract design was unique enough to catch my eye, yet super chic and matched seamlessly with the modern vibe I was going for.
A lot of “ergonomic” chairs out there are supposedly designed to support your back, but since all human bodies (and heights) are different, it’s hard to make a blanket statement for everyone. On the other hand, Model No’s couch lets you incorporate your height and inseam when creating the seating curvature. That means your chaise is exactly tall enough to sit comfortably and helps your back stay restfully aligned, whether you’re lying or sitting down.
After that, you get to pick out the body color made from dyed eco-resin—with colors ranging from white and black to pink—and the side material, which offers hardwood, walnut, and beech (I went with black ombre and hardwood). As the last step, you decide whether you want your armrest to be on the left or right side, and whether you want a seat pad.
I was a bit skeptical because of how unconventional it looks, but I was relieved to confirm that it's actually super comfortable. The shape of the backrest forces me to sit up straight instead of slouch, so a few hours of lounging is much more easy on my back (you may want to get a seat cushion for your rear though).
This might be a minor pro compared to the others, but because the interior is empty, the whole thing is also very light. I have pretty pathetic upper body strength, so this is going to provide some peace of mind the next time I move.
If you’re interested in lounging ergonomically, do your space, back, and the environment a favor with this chic chaise. Every configuration is created on-demand in their Oakland shop, so you can rest assured knowing that your custom-made furniture will arrive to fit your body.
To buy: Starting from $1,030; model-no.com.