GLBT AMERICA Furniture heijltjesakkaya’s transforming furniture promotes activity in the workplace

heijltjesakkaya’s transforming furniture promotes activity in the workplace

A SIMPLE MACHINE BY heijltjesakkaya


millions of us have jobs that keep us sat down glued in front of the computer for hours at a time. despite common advice to keep active and take regular breaks, most of us still don’t. and if you’re anything like me, all this bad posture and inactivity can lead to some pretty bad back or shoulder pain.


enter designers simon akkaya and maarten heijltjes — otherwise known as heijltjesakkaya –, who have combined ergonomics and engineering to create a collection of furniture that promotes physical activity in the workplace or at home. the collection is called ‘a simple machine’ and it comprises three objects: the counterweight table, the gas spring table, and the hour stool.

a simple machine human powered furniture 1
images and main video courtesy of heijltjesakkaya


‘a simple machine was born from our experience of trying to improve our own way of working,’  say the designers


‘office seating is designed to keep you seated. but no ergonomic chair can negate poor posture or the effects of hours of inactivity. standing desks offer the possibility of switching from sitting to standing, which is good. yet, most contradict the active attitude they try to stimulate with slow, externally powered movement, initiated by pressing a button. failing to find fitting solutions in current work furniture, we were curious what would effectively stimulate ourselves to have a more active workday.’

heijltjesakkaya's transforming furniture promotes physical activity in the workplace
counterweight table



human powered furniture tHAT INVITES ACTIVE WORKING


the collection integrates pulleys, weights and levers, which are powered by your body to end desk inactivity. the motion of the user is mimicked in the moving parts and the overall design embodies a clean, industrial aesthetic that reflects its functionality. the counterweight table and gas spring table are almost inside-out constructions from folded steel and industrial parts, designed to last multiple lifetimes.


for counterweight table, a cylindrical counterweight balances the mass of the tabletop and its frame, resulting in a floating surface that can be fixed at any desired height. a custom magazine holding extra weights offers the option of altering the counterweight and balancing a heavier load on the table.

a simple machine human powered furniture 5
counterweight table detail



gas spring table uses a lever and gas spring to press a wheel along the underside of the aluminum tabletop, creating a weightless work surface. moving the tabletop is done by effortlessly pushing it up or down.


the hour stool is a complementary object to use as a seat for the counterweight or gas spring table, or for any other table or working surface. archetypical in shape, even somewhat spartan in appearance, the stool is designed for an active posture and regular switching between sitting and standing. changing height is done by simply turning the seat.


heijltjesakkaya is designers simon akkaya and maarten heijltjes. after a decade of working under the waarmakers moniker, the change to heijltjesakkaya marks a pivot to a more personal and experimental approach to their work. heijltjesakkaya creates objects from a curiosity of how products and our physical environment affect behavior.

heijltjesakkaya’s transforming furniture promotes physical activity in the workplace