Where health happens without conscious effort.

At Limber we’re on a mission to halve global back pain by 2050 through improving design, understanding and care.

We have started by creating what UC Berkeley professors are calling " The world's healthiest desks" and launching courses, quizes and resources to help people move more, understand back pain and find quality care. Sign up to our newsletter to stay tuned in.

Origin Story

At the beginning, Bart was working as a physiotherapist helping injured people get back to work. But he was sending people back to the environments that had injured them in the first place, knowing they would be back at his door within 18 months’ time. Bart had an image in his head of a revolving door – where people left well, came back injured, left well, came back injured… Each time in a little more pain, each time with less mobility, each time more disheartened. 

People revolving through the door of ever decreasing health and performance.

The badly designed environments people were returning to were injuring them. Seeing a growing number of people on the path to the revolving door jolted Bart into questioning, “Why are we not using the knowledge we have about health and performance in the spaces we spend our most productive time?” Clearly, something was amiss.

Our workplaces are designed for ill health.

Between patients, Bart wondered, “Why is everything set up to limit our movement? How do we design our environments to help us get the movement we need to thrive? What can we do to break the cycle of pain, ill-health and ever reducing performance and vitality?” 

Bart’s mission to get people moving began. 

One day Bart was researching the best ways to get people moving and found himself suffering back pain and headaches from long hours sitting at a desk. The irony was real. 

As a former professional hockey goalie, Bart discovered that sitting at his desk could be more hazardous than having a hockey ball rocketing his way at 200km/hr. 

The typical desk set-up restricts your ability to move - if you don’t use it, you lose it. Bart needed to find a way to get moving again while working. Bart couldn’t find a desk that allowed enough movement so he set off to create one that did.

The best posture is the next posture.

And the most powerful movement for your health is getting up off the floor. It requires strength, balance, flexibility, blood pressure changes and more. How easily you can get to and from the floor is a predictor of longevity. What if you could do this movement throughout the day while you were working? And so, the design challenge began.

Bart formed a team of the best minds (an industrial designer, experience designer, and an engineer) to design a desk that moved from floor to standing quickly and effortlessly. The challenge was set to solve this design problem with the principles of sustainability at the forefront. The first prototype of the Limber desk was a miniature made from cardboard, wood skewers and a roll of tape as the counterweight.

The Limber desk evolved over five years.

Great care in the design led to 25 prototypes, hundreds of design tweaks, thousands of hours, and end user research with companies like Xero and TradeMe. Xero was customer number one, purchasing Limber desks for their people. From this, Limber was born.

Because of that the Limber desk soon got the attention of a world leading expert in ergonomic design. University of California at Berkeley's Professor Galen Cranz flew to New Zealand to study the desk. She quickly recognised she was witnessing a world first – a desk that allowed full range of motion, speed and ease of changing height, in-built ergonomics, all combined with beautiful and sustainable design. She could see the life-changing benefits and declared it ‘the world’s healthiest desk.’ Professor Cranz returned to the U.S. with a Limber desk for her team to study.

The Limber team thought they were onto something. It turns out the experts at U.C. Berkley and Limber’s customers think so too.

I show everyone who comes over and tell them "this is the last desk I will ever buy!

Timo Reitnauer - Entrepreneur

A year on and I've forgotten what stiffness from being in an office all day feels like

Kate Hall, Sustainability Adviser

The Limber team understood that it’s our environments that shape our behaviours and it’s our behaviours that determine our health and performance. They got to thinking, “What if the desk was just the start? What if all our environments made movement easy and kept us limber?” 

From their roots in physiotherapy, the Limber team carried with them a focus on health, care and education and wove this into every aspect of the Limber experience.

The team was on the path to not only designing a Limber range of products and innovations that set you up to thrive and easily care for your body, they had started designing the Limber life.

Finally, spaces designed to heal, rejuvenate and enhance performance - where the latest science, the best minds and infinite care shape great design. This is the Limber life. 

Today, Limber’s mission is to create a way of living and working where health happens without conscious effort.

Imagine what you could achieve and how you would feel working in a space designed for the Limber life.

P.S. It’s not just you and your work environment Limber cares about (learn more).

Bart de Vries

Bart de Vries is a Physiotherapist and founder of Limber, makers of "the world's healthiest desk" (according to professors at UC Berkeley). Bart has honed his expertise in the science of health, performance and behaviour change during his time as a professional hockey player and his time working with professional sports people including Commonwealth, Olympic and NBA athletes.

An Edmund Hillary Fellow and a leader in green business innovation, Bart has helped develop Climathon NZ and the Wellington Zero Carbon Challenge.

Limber’s mission is to halve global disability caused by back by 2050, creating a way of living where health happens without conscious effort.

Eric de Vries

Quality Assurance & Operations. A.K.A Bart’s Dad.