Elysium (ɪˈlɪzɪəm); noun
1. Also called Elysian Fields. Classical Mythology. the abode of the blessed after death.
2. any similarly conceived abode or state of the dead.
3. any place or state of perfect bliss; happiness; paradise.
4. an area in the northern hemisphere of Mars, a light region when viewed telescopically from the Earth.
I’m guessing that the makers of the $26,000 Elysium reclining chair meant to associate it with the “state of perfect bliss” rather than the other definitions of the word!
I’m a pharmaceutical physician, anesthesiologist and a career medical researcher so the science of pleasure, bliss and sleep are not unfamiliar to me. What piqued my interest was whether the true cost of this luxury chair is the choice it affords the owner?
Could this really be the ‘happy place’ rather than a McDonalds or Disneyland?
What’s it all about, Alfie?
The Elysium Chair is made by the David Hugh Company in Cambridge, England.
You can try out the chair in luxurious aural ambience by checking out the flagship ‘Bang & Olufsen of Knightsbridge’ store opposite Harrods department store in London.
50 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1BW .
Science of Masterly Inactivity
Dr David Wickett PhD is the inventor and furniture designer who created an equation defining posture and gravitational force after his doctoral thesis in bioengineering.
In a nutshell, the Elysium Chair is about the most restful position simulating weightlessness.
There are two modes of use:
1) Lockable recline
Experience the lightest recline action available in a chair with a locking function
2) Free Motion
Touch a lever to access continuous frictionless balance controlled by gesture – usually the hand but I suppose any appendage could be used – if you can move it, it’ll work.
One feels cocooned in Elysium through careful layering of ergonomica engineering structures. At the core of the design is a carbon fibre skeleton that engages perfectly with human form.
Traditional upholstery springs are fused to the carbon fibre at calculated tensions and in precise locations to support specific anthropometric sites. Covering this, a variety of resilient and viscoelastic foams deliver the optimum combination of support, pressure relief and haptic response.
A patented frictionless technology works as a virtual cam that allows the body to move about a balance point. It translates the rotational movement of the body into a linear horizontal motion by keeping the body’s centre of gravity along the set path. This ensures the body is always in balance and the weightless experience.
In the upright position, gravity exerts force down the body. The spine is loaded from the weight of the upper body, the heart has to work to return blood from the lower legs and there is a tendency for the skeleton to slide forwards, which is resisted by shear forces in the muscle and skin.
In the full recline position, the situation is reversed. Gravity assists the return of blood from the lower legs, the spine rehydrates and increases in length, and there is a tendency for the skeleton to slide backwards. This state of negative gravity offers biomechanical benefits that have the potential to relieve pain.
Somewhere between those two states (25°), the body passes through a point of zero gravity where pressure is evenly distributed and shear-force approaches zero. This results in reduced sensation, which is the principle of Floatation Therapy.
The body is placed in a state of equilibrium where all joints are flexed to balance muscular and ligament tension. This posture has been observed in people within weightless environments where the absence of gravity results in neutral joint angles. Unique support to the lower back cradles the pelvis which in turn aligns and reduces stress in the lowest joints of the spine. Direct support to the spine is avoided since this increases stress in the joints where the spine connects to the pelvis.
Elysium represent new thinking in ergonomics. At David Hugh, they like to call it ‘Post-Optimal Ergonomics’.
Handmade in Cambridge
All Elysium chairs are hand made in Cambridge, England.
Although the demonstration chairs are set up for the ‘standard man’ and are quite comfortable, DavidHugh proudly states: “Elysium is a bespoke item based on intimate client consultation”.
You get a choice of coverings including luxury leathers. The ‘intimate’ bit is the way they measure all your body’s form and function – nooks and crannies – weight and adiposity, so they can fine-tune the chair for you.
The basic specifications are:
- Milled aluminium and stainless steel
- Ergonomically engineered carbon fibre
- Anatomically moulded viscoelastic foam
- Scandinavian leather in 70 colour options
- Size: 740 mm x 960 mm x 1250 mm (upright)
- Weight: 32 kg
The chairs conform to the following British Standards:
BS EN 12520:2015. Furniture. Strength, Durability and Safety
BS 5852 CRIB 5. Medium Hazard Flammability
The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords.
To this end, the Elysium Chair is indeed the “Most comfortable recliner on Earth”, even when experienced on a demonstrator model not optimised to an individual’s anthropometry. Imagine how it would feel when made just for YOU…
Check out the video of the Elysium Chair in action.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelog ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).