All Rise

This Pricey Standing Desk Wants to Obliterate Your Excuses for Sitting Around All Day

Yes, I know sitting is the new smoking and by the way have you seen my pack of Camels?
Cooling. (Photo: Stir)

Cooling. (Photo: Stir)

Are you the founder of a newly acquired startup looking to treat yo’self, or perhaps a recruiter at a major technology company fighting to hang on to its programmers? Then boy, have we got the investment piece for you.

Meet the Kinetic Desk, created by an L.A.-based company called Stir. It’s a very well made, very expensive desk that offers you the option of sitting or standing–the idea being to get you moving around at least a little. 

“A lot of people find that even with these adjustable height desks, you know, theoretically it’s a good thing to move them up and down, but everybody’s busy,” CEO JP Labrosse (who once worked on the team that created the iPod) explained the problem. “They’re in the zone, they’re focused. and oftentimes it’s just hard.”

Hence Stir has tried to remove every obstacle to your seamlessly integrating standing into your workday. (No more excuses for sitting on your rumps, guys.) Rather than fiddling with a bunch of buttons, to reposition the desk you simply double-tap a touchpad in the lower lefthand corner. You preset your preferred heights.

The results are pretty Star Trek! It gives off only a faint whirr while moving. It’s got built-in outlets. The tabletop, which comes in white and gray, is slick as hell (made in Brooklyn, of course); you can request the underside in kelly green, crimson, charcoal, or ultramarine.  Best of all, when it’s time for you to change positions, the desk will remind you with the faintest of movements, rising an inch and retreating again. “It’s as if the desk is taking a breath of air,” said Mr. Labrosse–they even timed it to the typical human resting breath.

Then there are the goodies for quantified selfers. Sensors in the desk sense your presence and track how many calories you’re burning. And you thought your FitBit was worth bragging about.

At an eye-popping $3,890, though, the Kinetic Desk isn’t exactly a mass product. Most office workers are lucky if their employer shampoos the carpets annually and has already abated all the asbestos in the building. “The desk is certainly an investment, there’s no doubt about it,” Mr. Labrosse admitted. “It’s really an investment in supporting people in being the most productive from a company perspective.” He also pointed to the increasing popularity of telecommuting.

Still, the longer you look at the thing, the more it starts to look like Elysium rather than the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com