Focal Locus workstation splits the difference between sitting and standing


July 3, 2012

Designer Martin Keen, with his Locus semi-standing work station

Designer Martin Keen, with his Locus semi-standing work station

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With digital technology making its presence felt in an increasing number of fields, more and more people are finding that their formerly somewhat-active jobs now entail their sitting at a computer all day. Unfortunately, as most of us are by now aware, sitting for long periods of time has been shown to significantly raise a person’s chances of dying from cardiovascular, metabolic, or other types of disease. While stand-up work stations have been offered as an alternative, standing for too long can also take a toll on our well-being. Focal Upright Furniture has attempted to reached a best-of-both-worlds middle ground, however, with its new Locus work station.

The Locus consists of two parts, the desk and the seat. The desk is not unlike a traditional drafting table, with a large flat hardwood work area which can be tilted to different angles or raised to different heights. It can readily accommodate a laptop computer, and a mounting bracket for a 27-inch iMac is on the way.

The tractor-style seat, however, is what’s special. It has a central single aluminum leg, which attaches via a pivot to a hardwood laminate base/footrest. Users adjust the height of the seat and desk so that they are in a semi-standing position, with the seat taking some (but not all) of their weight.

As their weight shifts, the seat sways accordingly, requiring them to make subtle adjustments in order to stay upright. According to Focal, this constant movement “keeps your body active and brain engaged, stimulating blood and oxygen flow.” It sounds rather similar to the arguments made for replacing office chairs with fit balls, which have been debated back and forth.

The seat can be folded up and rolled on a built-in set of wheels, for easy transport or storage.

Limited-edition “early adopter” models of the desk and seat are currently available for all the furniture historians out there. The regular models, however, will be priced at US$1,150 for the desk, and $650 for the seat.

The Locus work station was designed by Martin Keen, who is already known for his distinctive blunt-toed Keen footwear. He can be seen demonstrating the Locus in the video below.

Source: Focal Upright Furniture via inStash

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Or you could just get a drafting table and combine a plumbing flange, a 30" pole and a bicycle seat to make your own tippy stool.

Michael Crumpton

Ergonomic eh? So why is he using a laptop/notebook, an item which in many, if not all, DSE publications state should not be used for long periods of time?


That is about the sitting position of the bicycle I ride the most! (I have several). I have a much more ergonomic "Spongy Wonder" seat than this does however. The raised front lip looks downright scary. The slanted foot board on the bottom probably makes this position work, as my bicycle pedals do on my bike.


Almost $2000 for the desk and chair combination. They're crazy. If I was going to spend that kind of money, I'd rather buy a treadmill and treadmill desk (like Trekdesk) combination, which would keep me even more active. In fact, such a combination would cost less. The Trekdesk costs less than $500 and most treadmills cost less than $1000, especially since you don't need a fancy treadmill for the roughly 1 mph walking speed a treadmill desk is used at. That's not taking into account the cardiovascular, weight loss and stress reduction benefits of using a slow treadmill every workday. It wouldn't have the fancy pneumatic cylinder height adjustment or designer look, but I'd rather have function rather than form anyway.

sunfly, What "raised front lip"? If you're talking about the bump at the front of the seat, this is a classic tractor seat, used for decades on farm equipment. I own a stool that uses a tractor seat design and the bump is not scary. In fact, the stool is comfortable enough even though it's a hard plastic shell and completely unpadded. The contours cup your legs and buttocks and distribute pressure quite well.


It is $2,000 but there is a reason they are aiming at he Mac crowd, they spend money. It doesn't seem like a bad idea. Maybe it will be successful, maybe it won't be but I definitely welcome the fresh idea because there is overwhelming evidence that our desk jobs are slowly killing us.


I won't be buying one because I'm cheap and no place left to put it. Quality of what is being sold seems in line with the price to me, and it looks like I'd like it a lot. I do have a distantly related Balans chair. I've replaced the thin flat wooden part under the cushion, redid the dowling & put a wide front to back piece of naugahyde across the burlap cover to make keeping the cushion clean easy.

Dave B13

Forgot to mention these, an outdoor item but with posture similar to locus chair: seatcane or seatstick Amazon - Haas-Jordan

Dave B13
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