Designing a Swiss ball in Switzerland: when tradition meets modern design
For the majority of people, when they think of the Swiss ball, the first thing that comes to mind is health. Indeed, in recent decades, Swiss balls have become synonymous with spinal health, core strength, and overall wellbeing. They’ve regularly featured in gyms, spas, and wellness centres for years — and many people even have them in their homes. But what are the actual origins of the Swiss ball? The history behind Swiss balls is rather interesting, especially given the fact that the Swiss ball actually originated in Italy. Invented in the 1960s by Aquilino Cosani as a gymnastic tool, the ball “became Swiss” when it was widely adopted by physical therapists across Europe — perhaps most notably, by Swiss physical therapists concerned with posture and spinal rehabilitation. Hence, the Swiss ball as we know it today was born. Baola, similarly, has its origins in both Switzerland and in health. Its founder, Pierre-Emmanuel Boiton, was living in Zurich when he went on holiday and suffered a near-fatal spinal injury. Having fractured his 6th cervical vertebra, Boiton had a road of rehabilitation ahead of him. He found that sitting on a Swiss ball was the one thing he could do to overcome the debilitating back pain he faced while seated at work following his spinal injury. The problem was that most Swiss balls were utilitarian and aesthetically unpleasing. Hence the idea for Baola was born — could function combine with art into something both uniquely Swiss but also globally appealing? That answer was of course, a resounding yes, as Baola launched its first collaboration with British artist Mike Lemanski. Baola launched in 2018 with a mission to create a unique seating object that could combine function with design. To accomplish this, Baola ensures that only the highest quality fabrics and materials are used in the construction of each Swiss ball. Attention and care is given to the manufacturing process, ensuring that the finished product is far from a standard mass-produced ball, but rather a piece of art you can both sit on and which adds a unique element to any physical space. The culmination of Baola’s attention to detail, form and design gives way to a 21st Century seating object that fits into modern home design schemes. Different artist collaborations for the various Baola editions means that there are distinctive colour schemes available to match all manner of interior decor. Today, people live busy lives, often working from home in limited spaces. Baola merges our modern need with fresh design and classic Swiss therapeutics, resulting in a seat that adds something special and joyful to any living or working space. This is how we merge tradition with modernity to bring you something truly unique.