Electric Chairs

Does Surfing Have to Hurt?
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Nov. 30 2004 4:11 PM

Electric Chairs

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The Ultimate Net-Surfing Furniture

Shoulders scrunched?

Wrists sore?

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Eyes a bit bleary?

No wonder. Take a look at yourself. Hunched over a keyboard, leaning into a monitor, trying to read this tiny text.

But does cruising the Internet really need to be so uncomfortable? Does surfing have to hurt?

The problem, I realized, is that surfing feels too much like work. That PC in the den is just like that workstation at the office.

Perhaps the ultimate surfing furniture shouldn't be furniture at all. Instead of demanding a corner of our living room, maybe it should just sit on the kitchen counter, like another appliance?

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Then again, when was the last time you spent two hours staring at your blender?

Perhaps the solution is to have it fit in rather than fade out. Make it seem more at home in the home.

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Or to have it small enough to take with you.

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Nope.

So I tried another tack. Technology, I figured, wasn't necessarily something to hide. On the contrary: Wouldn't it be nice if there were some drama to surfing, some connection between the furniture's shape and the Internet's size, something important. Why shouldn't it be big? Really big. A huge blinking, beeping monolith, something whose very presence says "miracle."

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Better yet, shouldn't the ultimate Net-cruising furniture bring people together? Why be virtual when you can have the real thing?

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We need cyberfurniture to fit in with our active lifestyles. The gist is: multitask. Don't, God forbid, waste time. Besides, if it's going to be this much fun, shouldn't it hurt?

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If surfing is to be really enjoyable, it's got to be convenient. If I'm going to read an online magazine, let me do it where I read my National Geographics.

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But convenience is only part of the solution. In the end, the ultimate Net-surfing furniture has got to be made comfortable. It should say: Relax. Put your feet up. Take a load off.

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Marco Pasanella is a furniture designer in New York City.