It's not often that a simple, clever design comes along that is as fun as it is effective, but that's exactly what I found when I got hold of the Muista chair. It's an ergonomic chair/stool born from a scientific study that found that micro-movements help cancel out the harmful side-effects of sitting down for too long.
I'm not familiar with this scientific study that the company built this chair from, but after using the Muista chair for over two months, I am familiar with the chair itself, used as both a front room seat and as my main office chair for hours on end. So, is the Muista chair a novelty that waned after prolonged use? Or does it really promote active sitting that's good for your back? Read on to find out.
Of course, if you want more ideas on the best office chairs out there, or specifically the best office chair for back pain, all of which provide ergonomic support, we've got guides for you to check out. Sold on the move-while-you-work idea? We've also covered the best standing desks out there too.
Muista Chair: design and features
First things first, I've never seen, let alone used, an office chair like this. And that's exactly what the company Muista suggests that its chair/stool be used for: a chair to be used while at your desk for several hours at a time. Looking at the office chair competition, the Muista chair clearly stands out. There's no back support, no bulky metal base with rolling wheels, and no adjustable arms, seat and headrest for you to get that sitting sweet spot you like so much. The Muista chair comes exactly as you see it on this page – ready to rock (literally).
That's because Muista is playing by its own rules. Whereas nearly all other ergonomic chairs offer a fully supportive experience, the Muista chair actually encourages you to move, whether that's from side to side or back to front. As the Muista website (opens in new tab) attests, this 'fidgeting' is actually helpful for the sitter to not fall foul of sedentary sitting. And when you're not using the chair, the chair itself is quite a beautiful thing to behold: discreet, subtle, but with a distinct character that I felt added to any room it was.
Muista chair: comfort and build
That's all very well and good, but is it comfortable? The short version is yes... kind of. The longer version is, there are levels of comfort, and this is not meant to compete with the luxurious, leather-soft executive chairs out there (for more of that, head over to our X4 Executive leather chair review). But this is no exercise in masochism. The seating is soft yet sturdy, and it takes a surprisingly short amount of time to get into the gentle movement that's integral to the stool. I sat on the Muista chair for several days in a row – the usual 9 to 5 working day, with (several) breaks. I'm a naturally fidgety person, and so really took to the wiggly nature of this stool. I can also see how some people just wouldn't get into it – especially gamers, or those who like the reclining option of more standard ergonomic chairs. I also really enjoyed using the Muista chair in combination with my standing desk, maximising the movement in my working day.
The build of the Muista chair is as simple and effective as the design. One single piece of press-formed beech plywood provides the majority of the stool, with a woollen seat and rubber pads on the underside finishing it off. There's something super-satisfying about its simplicity, and no doubt this will appeal to punters of a more creative bent. I found the chair was pretty much exactly the same as when I got it, two months into constant use. Of course, with no moving parts, there's less chance for bits to break, etc. This really is no-fuss seating.
Muista chair: verdict
So, you may have gathered that I'm a fan, but of course that doesn't mean the Muista chair is for everyone. For me, there's something incredibly appealing when a company comes at a design problem from a totally different angle, backed up with thorough research, and its solution is as simple as it is effective. And it wouldn't take much for the Muista chair to fall down – just one design element that didn't work, one extra material that wasn't needed. But it does work, really really well.
I repeat, I don't think this will be for every user, and maybe some people will find the moving/sitting experience an innovation too far, or perhaps just not like the look of it. But I found that using the Muista chair made me gently engage my core, move my legs, hips and back in a way that left me feeling less sluggish.