Baola’s story stems from, as many stories do, a life-changing event.
In 2013, Pierre-Emmanuel (the founder of Baola) was enjoying a summer’s weekend with friends at the coast. Jumping from a cliff into the sea, Pierre-Emmanuel became unbalanced and landed awkwardly in the water, entering on his rear and fracturing his 6th cervical vertebra.
The accident left Pierre-Emmanuel with constant debilitating back pain. In an attempt to alleviate the discomfort, he decided to replace his office chair with a Swiss Ball and quickly noticed that the pain had lessened. Four months later, his back pain had almost gone.
There was, however, a problem. If the Swiss ball were to become part of his everyday life, it needed to look better. Rather than looking like a plastic ball, it needed to look like an “art object”, something that would be just as much at home under a desk as it would in a gallery. This was his challenge; this was the birth of Baola.
Pierre-Emmanuel outlined his ideas for a flexible fabric to encase the ball. Something that he could use every day and would be easy to care for.
He contacted Mike Lemanski, a British designer and illustrator, to help visualise what the ball could look like, and he found two textile designers in Zurich, Kim and Yael. Together they worked on the first prototype.
There were a number of problems to solve with the design of the first prototype, and in January 2018, the product was shared with the public. The initial feedback was strong. People were excited and wanted Baola to become a real tangible product and so the first Orbit Edition was released, proudly manufactured entirely in Europe.