30/01/2015 8:11 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

A Chair Can Make Your Mood

We think of a chair as just another piece of furniture, as part of a larger interior design and decor theme. But there is more to it. A chair may be made important, even glorified, by design, made more comfortable by design and made relevant by design. The opposite holds true as well. A chair could be designed to befit a queen or fitted out to become the final vehicle of despatch for a condemned criminal.

I think PhDs could be written on this subject, but for now I'd like to touch upon the relevance of the chair to our behaviour and daily life.

If I told you that the chair could dictate your mood, would you believe it? It does. Many luxury cinema halls in our cities are outfitted with plush armchairs. Other cinemas, such as the one I saw in a small Cambodian town, make do with regular metal chairs. The chairs in the luxury halls invite you to sink in comfortably, you can recline the seat and settle down to your film. The experience of comfort give you value for your expensive tickets. The chairs I saw in Cambodia are functional, nothing more. They are as cost-effective as the tickets. The user is expected to experience just the cinema and the chair is in line with the money spent. It is basic.

Back to the comfortable chair. Is it suitable for everything? If you sat down on it to study statistics, for example, you may (unless you're a genius) mix up your numbers. You may get a little too comfortable. The behaviour expected dictates the chair design. If the chair is for study it needs to have every minute dimension right for the user, so the focus of the brain goes to the study rather than the chair.

I will share more in coming weeks on how the chair and human behaviour work together. I will also cover chairs for different ages, sexes, occupations, cultures and behaviours. For now, though, I'd like to start with the "Zen Thinker Chair". I propose it might serve you as well as yoga or meditation.

The chair must allow meditativeness as well as alertness in order to allow you to make your best decisions, whether you're a lawyer parsing laws for a legal strategy, or a writer seeking inspiration, or anyone needing to maintain a dedicated mindset.

A chair to aid such a mood is dependent on your body shape, your body fat mass, muscle mass, your height, your typical clothing and your skin's response to materials. You need an accomplished designer to help you in this or you could experiment by visiting furniture stores, hotels, libraries, friends' homes etc to see which chair makes you feel most structured. We spend fortunes these days on hourly consultations with counsellors and doctors to make us feel better. It follows that a chair in which we spend at least a few minutes daily is just as important.

Until next time, do look at the various chairs you sit in during the week and their influence on you. You will be astonished at what you might learn.