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Thirty years ago, Norwegian industrial designer Peter Opsvik, in association with office seating manufacturer HÅG, designed a new office chair with a seat ergonomically modeled after the posture one finds oneself astride a horse, called the horseman's posture for short. The Capisco was more than just a saddle seat, however. Opsvik, an industry legend who also created the classic Balans kneeling stool, designed the Capisco to facilitate a variety of sitting postures throughout the day, allowing users a freedom of movement that at the time was unprecedented in office chairs.

Now, HÅG has taken Opsvik's design back to the drawing board and created something modern for today's offices. The new Capisco Puls is a sleeker, greener, and more affordable ergonomic chair than the older model, with a refined saddle seat and a minimalist aesthetic. Can this redesign win over a new generation of office workers? With the new chair in our testing labs, we set off to find out.

Compared to the more complex task of putting together a desk, chairs are a breeze to assemble, and the Capisco Puls is no exception. There are only four main components to contend with: the seat, the back rest, the gas lift, and the feet. They're lightweight and easy to set up, with clear instructions and a minimal number of bolts to attach.

Minimalist Design to Maximum Effect

The new Capisco Puls made waves with its bold redesign, winning the coveted Red Dot Design Award in 2011. It retains the same basic elements of Opsvik’s original concept, but with a pared-down design. The seat and back rest of the older model, which featured a liberal amount of padding, have been streamlined for the Puls with molded polyurethane and sleeker angles. The ergonomic saddle seat is still a mainstay of the Puls, though it too is an update of the original: The saddle sports a slimmer, more subtle "pommel" than the first Capisco's more pronounced shape, and looks somewhat similar to the Focal Mobis's seat. In keeping with its minimalist aesthetic, the new seat is mostly bare: the only cushion on the basic model is a thin strip of padding down the center of the seat pan.

For our review, we tested the upgraded, fully-upholstered model with 1/2'”-thick upholstery covering the whole seat pan. Its components are mostly gray, with an aluminum frame—combined with the curved seat back, it looks like the ergonomic seat of choice aboard the Starship Enterprise. If you're not a Trekkie, never fear: the Puls also comes in black, red, and white. Despite the reduced cushion factor, the Puls's saddle seat remains adequately padded—at least on the fully-upholstered version—and slopes gently, positioning your legs in an ergonomically healthy angle. The seat back is likewise shaped to accommodate your spine: cutouts afford your shoulders a hefty amount of freedom to move, while the seat back's rounded 'arms' give you a place to rest your elbows.

A Shape-Shifting Ergonomic Chair

Unlike 'active' seats like the Back App, which automatically engage your core and back muscles, the Capisco Puls still resembles a static, traditional office chair. However, the Puls offers a different kind of movement. One of the original Capisco's most interesting attributes, which HÅG has preserved in the Puls, is its ability to support a wide variety of sitting postures. A quick skim through the Capisco site revealed photo after photo of people sitting on the chair in a variety of positions – facing sideways, or even using it backwards. We raised our eyebrows at a few of these pictures (some of them depicted what could only be described as "chair yoga"), but we have to admire the Puls's dedication to activity and freedom of movement. We tried some of these oddball positions out, and were surprised at how well they seemed to work. Sitting sideways feels natural to the body, as does sitting backwards with your elbows propped up on the arm rests. While the process of changing positions on the Puls isn't as instantaneous as an active chair, we still think everyone can benefit from a little chair yoga – no word yet on how our chair chakras are doing, though.

The Puls has the adjustability features you’d expect in an office chair. Height, seat pan depth, chair tilt, and back rest height are all adjustable. The base's grooved foot plates are a natural place for your feet, more so with the optional foot ring or StepUp Footrest, which provide different places to rest your feet while you sit. While other, so-called "ergonomic" chairs may come with a wide array of knobs and levers to adjust every minute little detail, we found the Puls's basic adjustments, paired with the freedom of movement it affords us, provided a more satisfying sitting experience than its conventional counterparts.

The chair's redesign is not only attractive to look at and ergonomically designed, it's also environmentally responsible. The Greenguard-certified Capisco Puls is specially built for minimal environmental impact: it's 95% recyclable, made with few chemical emissions and 24% post-consumer recycled materials – it incorporates used plastic parts, and its foam cushion is made from recycled car bumpers. These environmentally-sound efforts make the Puls a natural fit for 'green' offices. The Puls comes with a strong warranty. The height-adjusting gas lift is warrantied for life, the frame for five years, and the seat pad for three. Most of the products we review—thankfully—don't break down during our testing, so we rely on the manufacturer's warranty to gauge how durable a product is. And Puls's warranty assures us that HÅG designed it to last.


HÅG provides a ten-year guarantee against production defects on all office chairs produced after 1 January 2004 and textiles from our HTC standard collection. This applies for usage of up to nine hours a day. In addition, HÅG offers a lifetime guarantee on its gas lifts.

additional detail:

  • Brand:HÅG
  • Saddle Seat with back, partially upholstered
  • Overall width 69.85cm, depth 69.85cm
  • Seat Width 46cm, Seat Depth 40cm-46cm
  • Saddle Width 16.5cm
  • Back Width 56cm, Back Height 47cm
  • Assembly required, tools included.
  • HÅG Capisco 8010 is a plastic chair that is delivered with a seat and back. The seat has an integrated cushion for improved comfort. The saddle seat can be adjusted between low and high working positions, all the way up to standing, enabling you to be more dynamic in your movements while still balanced. The seat height, seat depth and back height can be adjusted. Tilt resistance is adjustable and lockable. The footbase is delivered in black or silver-lacquered aluminium. Standard 200 mm gas lift. A footbase in polished aluminium.

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