Darryl Agawin No, Sweat! | BCBusiness

Darryl Agawin No, Sweat! | BCBusiness
Darryl Agawin's No, Sweat! office furniture collection doubles as workout equipment.

A local medic-turned-designer creates furniture to capture a new generation of business offices and cultures

“There are a number of reasons why individuals should engage in cardiovascular exercise,” Darryl Agawin insists before enumerating a long list of heart-related health conditions. But it was the Japanese expression karōshi, which means “death from overwork” (the classification for sudden occupational hazards, such as heart-attack and stroke, caused by job-related stress) that inspired his graduation project from art school, a line of multi-purpose furniture designed for modern office spaces.

Contrary to common logic, becoming a doctor was Agawin’s fallback career if he didn’t make it into art school. Already a cardiovascular specialist working at hospitals across greater Vancouver, it was in pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree in industrial design at Emily Carr University of Art + Design that Agawin’s knowledge of the human heart and passion for product development conspired. His graduation project, No, Sweat!, is a suite of office furniture that can also be used as workout equipment.

Agawin himself—by no means a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of medical practitioner—is a regular at the local YMCA fitness centre where he built the bulk of his primary research. “I noticed that a lot of the shapes and forms that assist kinaesthetic movement are also found in the Memphis-style design that was popular in the 1980s,” Agawin explains. “Its all very simple and geometric. I also like the relationship of applying this aesthetic to exercise equipment. It's reminiscent of the fitness movement that occurred around the same time.”

Aerobics and bodybuilding are made easy with Agawin’s conceptual three-piece set, from which hundreds of well-known exercise routines can be extrapolated for a complete, full-body workout. The desk breaks apart into an exercise step, platform and bench. The chair’s lumbar rest can be used as a foam roller; the seat base can be removed for core activities that require a balance board, or can be left in as a high platform for plyometrics. The lamp doubles as a display stand that houses a weight bar, kettle bell, and skip rope.

See the No, Sweat! collection for yourself at IDSWest in September, where it will be exhibited as part of Future Masters, a showcase of emerging local design talent. As more and more companies look to emphasize health and wellness among their employees, and the look of traditional office spaces evolves, it's a sure bet that Agawin's multipurpose office fixtures will turn heads for its practical use.

Fortunately for you—or perhaps your colleagues—spandex outfits are (so far) not included.

No, Sweat! - teaser 2 from Darryl Agawin on Vimeo.