Sometimes emulation has very severe negative side effects. In modern times working from anywhere, at home or even office, reflects that Indians and many international people find the Western standardized sitting and working arrangements unhealthy for long hours.
Opus Indigo Designs changed it all with their highly customized premium quality ergonomic furniture, as told in their feedback by their many satisfied customers.
One client, Ronald Shepherd, Tech Professional, Lisbon, Portugal, says about Opus Indigo Designs’ Aktiv Chair, “I decided to use the Active Seat about two months ago to improve my posture. I spend more than eight hours a day at my desk, and before using the Active Seat, I usually found myself slouching, leaning forward on my desk and generally tired from sitting for such a long time. I was previously using a sit-stand desk but didn’t find it comfortable to stand and work for more than an hour or two.
It took about a week for me to get used to the Active seat because it was more demanding on my legs which were now actively involved in stabilizing me. The initial discomfort went away after that first week, and I immediately felt a big difference in my posture. With other ergonomic chairs I’ve used, I felt discomfort in my lower back after a long day of sitting. With the Active seat, this has not been a problem, and because I was sitting upright, I also felt more alert and engaged for longer periods of time.
I also play the guitar, and the Active Seat works really well because there are no armrests that get in the way of the guitar and cables, and it is really easy to swivel away from my desk towards the instruments.
I highly recommend the Active Seat to anyone who spends significant time at their desk!”
Similarly, Mamta Nanda, Reiki Master in London, UK, says, “I have now used the Aktiv seat in my Reiki practice for about a month.
I used to like teaching Reiki while sitting on the floor with students sitting on chairs. Post-COVID, I thought I should not sit at a lower level than other people in the room, so I was struggling through sitting in a chair while teaching. I don’t enjoy sitting on regular chairs with rectangular seats, especially for long time periods. Most chairs are not suited for short people. I could never rest my lower back against the back support of the chair and keep my feet on the ground. I would often compensate by sitting forward on the edge of the seat. It is not easy to remember to keep the pelvis open while sitting on a regular chair. After a short while, my legs would tend to automatically cross over, or I wish that I could sit cross-legged on the chair.
Thanks to the Aktiv seat, I find myself looking forward to sitting in the chair while teaching Reiki. I really like the ability to adjust the height of the seat as it allows me to keep both my feet flat on the floor. The seat is quite light, therefore easy to move. I am glad that it does not have wheels as they can damage wooden floors. The swivel feature allows me to turn around easily when I need to demonstrate something on my back while teaching Reiki. The triangular shape of the seat ensures my pelvis stays open and my back straight, without a conscious effort. I am loving being able to sit with my knees lower than my pelvis. There are many years of programming in the body with regular chairs, and it will take some time for the body to adjust to this different way of sitting. But I can already feel muscles in my body beginning to relax when I sit on the Aktiv seat. I have finally found a chair that not only allows me to sit comfortably it also allows energy to flow well through the pelvis, the legs, the feet and the Earth. This feature is very useful while I am giving Reiki treatments or teaching Reiki.”
While another Navneet Malhotra, Architect from Gurugram, Haryana, says, “There are some products that alter your life completely, and you wonder why you didn’t get to it earlier… Opus Indigo’s Arise Flexi sit/stand desk converter is clearly one such amazing product that has brought tremendous relief to my aching back and helped increase work efficiency in these trying times.
It’s simple, easy to carry, assemble, place in the tightest of spaces and use on the fly.
Large enough to house my laptop, keyboard-mouse, phone and some peripherals, yet compact enough to sit snugly over my tiny make-do workstation at home [18 inches or 45 cm deep]. COVID has taught us to be accommodating.
Having used it for a month, I now know It has the perfect ergonomics, i.e., hand-shoulder working height.
It has a superb, silent and easy-to-use hydraulic boom that lifts and holds the entire apparatus to any height to match your standing height. Cool! A neatly tucked mechanical lever operates the lift.
I would give it a 5-star rating for making life simple and increasing my work efficiency by many folds.
Well worth the price, considering I didn’t need to buy new or remodel my existing table. Painful, right?
Assembly was a child play, packaging; delivery was a breeze.
Drawback: Look for a compact Keyboard-mouse combo. I recommend Rapoo E9300 or E9070 [if feeling rich]. Cheers!”
According to Dr Vinod Gupta, the CEO and Founder, a lack of proper posture poses health risks and can affect your performance. “At Opus Indigo, we produce ergonomic, sustainable, high-quality furniture based on a user-centric design to create productive spaces that maintain the well-being of users.”
Dr Vinod has talked and written at length about how Indians continue to work and live today, even though they have to work in offices that look like any international office. Most Indians are used to sitting on the floor on formal occasions, and Indian artisans still squat when working. It is not true for other countries. Many Indian women still wear sarees to work and dislike sitting in office chairs that chew up expensive sarees and dupattas. Yoga practice gives additional capabilities to Indians not utilised in ‘normal’ work setups. It is further complicated because, unlike European offices, most Indians work exclusively on laptops, whether in the office or at home. Some of it is to do with the affordability of Indian office workers. These issues set Indian office workers apart from their Western counterparts. It is the area for an ergonomic design that Dr Vinod addresses not just in his products but also in complete office interiors that his companies design and furnish.
Dr Vinod is an architect by training with over 50 years of work experience. He spent a few years in Scandinavia and has collaborated with Scandinavian furniture designers on projects in India. Working in Scandinavia introduced him to ergonomic design. Collaborating with a Scandinavian designer for a project in India brought home that European designs are not the best for India.
Dr Vinod got to experiment while teaching at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, in the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design. His ideas on sustainable and ergonomic design were tested while working with students and teachers at SPA.
Dr Vinod designed the first radically different ergonomic office furniture setup in 1995 for a project in Kolkata. Many versions of his special office tables have been developed and manufactured since. He firmly believes that the Indian office ethos is different and needs special products unavailable in the international market.
Only about five years back, Dr Vinod started with the retail sale of Opus Indigo products designed for Indians working in typical Indian conditions. The lockdown during COVID changed the way of working profoundly, and although Dr Vinod created new products during that time, it was difficult to manufacture and sell anything during the lockdown. Post-COVID, the Indian workplace changed again, and Dr Vinod continues to design for the evolving work culture.
Dr Vinod spoke in an interview with CIOLOOK INDIA, the highlights of which are given herein.
Please brief our audience about Opus Indigo Designs, its USPs, and how you are currently positioned as one of the Ergonomic Product Solution Providers.
Opus Indigo products are all designed for use by Indians in conditions that prevail in India. They are based upon years of research on large projects of office buildings and interiors that we have executed. We started with this work in 1988 when we designed the offices for CMC Limited in Delhi and Mumbai. Our solution provided a fresh approach to ergonomic design, not simply replicating what was done in Europe.
Tell us more about your organization’s offering and what makes it stand out in the cutthroat competition.
Opus Indigo offers only high-quality ergonomic products made in India. Since its inception, Opus Indigo has used sustainable materials and production processes to the extent possible. We are focused on making a difference in people’s lives through high-quality ergonomic products. Every one of our products has to meet our own stringent standards of quality and design.
Tell us about the immersive benefits of Ergonomic Solutions your organization offers its clients.
We have continued believing that Indians have special capabilities and limitations not found in European and American offices. While the world was focused on the Chair as the centrepiece of an ergonomic work setup, our work was centred on the Table. It has led to new ergonomic products not being found in Europe/America. Each of these brings health benefits to the user.
Considering the current industry scenario, what challenges do you face, and how do you drive your organization to overcome them?
We face two major challenges. First, the idea that European/American products are not necessarily useful for Indians is very difficult to convey to customers as much of their pre-purchase research is done online, looking only at European/American ideas. Most Indian doctors advise their patients according to free ergonomic recommendations available on the internet and not according to the healthy living practices that the Indian system of Ayurveda recommends.
It means that we cannot sell to multi-national companies whose standards are defined by someone sitting in New York, London or San Francisco. Second, it is difficult for online customers to make good value judgements based on quality rather than just the price. It is, therefore, difficult for Opus products to compete with poor quality imported products, wrongly labelled as Indian. It eliminates the lowest range of customers for us.
What would you advise budding professionals who aspire to venture into the Ergonomic Products industry?
The world is suffering the effects of climate change, and for Indians, it is not enough to simply design good functional and aesthetic products. They need to be manufactured, delivered and sold sustainably. For too long, Indians have emulated Western ideas about ergonomic design. Design for India has to meet Indian requirements, and young professionals have a great opportunity to work in the developing field of sustainable, ergonomic design for India.
How do you envision scaling Opus Indigo Designs’ operations and offerings in the future?
We have spent the last two years creating a range of unique ergonomic products that meet the requirements of Indian office workers. We believe that the range is now almost complete. We will upscale production and return to institutional sales that were the main driver of our business earlier. We shall focus on presenting the high-quality look and feel of our products.