When I got my Ergotron ergonomic standing- or sitting- computer work station, I also got a pilates ball office chair. I did not like it much. I immediately lost the inflater, so it started to sink-squish, of course. In any case, I still did not like *sitting.* A few weeks ago while prowling the basement of an estate sale, I saw this Stokke office stool. It is really really solid. It goes up and down easily. It cost me $20. Hey, the green upholstery is even a decent match for my office walls, which are painted Avocado from Sherwin-Williams’ Suburban Modern palette.

According to my online research, Stokke — which is/was a Norwegian company — does not seem to be making office chairs anymore. But, Varier’s Move chair — which is marketed as an ergonomic chair — appears very similar. It’s sold today for $475, so it looks like I got a very good deal, indeed, on my vintage Stokke chair. Moreover: I like my Stokke a lot. I have it levered up pretty high, so I can either sit all proper like, with my feet on the ground… sort of lean against it… or sit high, cross-legged, kind of balancing on the high stool. *worker’s comp claim in the making, I am sure*. Anyway, is it more ergonomic? I *think* so — probably especially when I use it with my feet firmly planted. My back seems to like the whole situation much better than when I was in a plain old office chair (even a high quality one) with a plain old desktop computer workstation.

for sale at Historic Modern – click photo to see listing

In my research, I could not find even one Stokke stool like mine. But, I did see examples of the Stokke Balans desk chair, which seems to be credited to designer Peter Opsvik. Of course, I remember these. Do they really work? Wouldn’t they just give you knee trouble, instead of back trouble? Above: A Balans chair currently for sale by Historic Modern, whose Star Trek Enterprise light and other treasures I featured the other day.

The pilates ball chair is headed to the Goodwill. You win some. You lose some.

  1. Jenny says:

    You got a great bargain! Plus, the “new” stool looks really cool, too. I’m glad your back is doing better. I’ve been there and it’s no fun.

  2. Allen says:

    Hey Pam
    Yes, I sit on a balans variable chair everyday with no back or knee problems. My chair is vintage with avocado colored wool fabric and its one of the things that i use the most and am very glad i purchased it 5 years ago. From what I remember, in the mid 2000’s Stokke spun off their ergonomic chairs division to become Varier Furniture. Varier and Stokke are still headquartered in Norway and the chairs that they make are still made there as well. You did get a very good deal on that stool! I have seen a few used/vintage examples from time to time going for around $75-150. I hope you enjoy your stokke product as much as I do mine!

    1. Just another Pam says:

      Good to know, Allen! I guess I’ll just recover mine and use it instead of moving it and storing it and wondering if I should set it free. Thanks!

  3. Annie B. says:

    A fine example of functional art – and it’s avocado, to boot.

    I’d love something made like this which would roll; something like those mid century Cosco (?) adjustable rolling library stools which provided mobility and stability.

    This looks like it would also be the best seat in the house for playing music, too.

    What a deal, Pam. Wow!

  4. Suzy Massey says:

    I had one of the Balans chairs and used it for a while years ago. I never got past the fact my knees would sweat- and you can’t adjust the height.

  5. Zoe says:

    So jealous! The local office store in Wiesbaden (where we lived for three years) sold these, and I coveted them. Could not afford it at the time, but I think my back would like me better if I had one. Will have to start prowling eBay for one, I guess.

  6. Emily says:

    I’ve sat on one of those rocking knee chairs for 5 years and I LOVE IT. It prevent injuries simply because you never sit still for too long, and you can sit in a wide variety of postures.

    I got a cheapo reproduction from myyogachair.com; it lasted 4 years and now I’m on my second one, so if you love it it’s worth getting the real thing.

    There are also versions with backs, like the Thatsit: http://www.allmodern.com/Varier-Human-Instruments-Thatsit-Balans-125-VRR1003.html

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