Can you build a better … chair?

Can you do better?
Put some thought into that seat!
Tom Merton/Photodisc/Getty Images

We all want to plop our butts down, but we'd rather not sit on the floor.

That's the chair, an invention so simple that even a discarded milk crate will do, yet we never stop refining the design. When our legs grow tired, we pull out everything from high-end adjustable office chairs to moldy recliners. We've custom-designed chairs for everyone from condemned criminals to reigning monarchs, and there seems to be no end in sight.


So why do we keep redesigning the chair? For starters, our bodies aren't meant to fold that way. Just as organic sofas never emerged from primordial muck, Homo sapiens never evolved to spend eight hours of the day in an office chair. Yet over the past 150 years, human populations have steadily resigned themselves to a seated life. Their spines curve and twist, and their bodies slouch.

You're probably sitting in a chair right now. How comfortable are you really?

Modern designers continue to tackle our chair-related woes, striving to create ergonomic, fashionable and multipurpose designs. The 1960s gave us the beanbag chairs. The 1970s gave us the posture friendly kneeling chair. Today, you'll find your contemporaries' rears in ball chairs, gaming chairs and European designs so modern that only the most pretentious of hind quarters dare grace their seats. However, they neither solve the problems posed by our increasingly seated lifestyle nor meet all the needs of our high-tech age.

So what's your big idea for the chair of tomorrow? Whether you're sitting in your prototype right now or feverishly plotting out your design on a cocktail napkin, we'd love to see your vision. Send designs for a better chair to with the subject line "Build a Better Chair." We're looking for one of the following: 1) an article with 500 words or fewer describing your proposed innovation, 2) an image gallery with 5-10 pictures of something you've actually built or 3) a detailed illustration of your awesome chair.

Hurry. You only have until July 22, 2011, to do so. After that, the music stops, and only our five favorite entries will keep their seats. Winners will receive some free swag and see their chair innovation published on our site.

Now get off your butt and start innovating!

Send us your ideas at