Thinking of Interactive Furniture Design

Something I have been thinking about lately is what would be ‘interactive furniture’. I think it would be easy to take the cop-out route and talk about how tables and computers would merge or something. Moving away from the easy answer and looking at the chair or seat and how that would become more interactive was the direction I wanted to look at.

When you talk about interactive and seating you are really talking about how the body connects with the furniture device and what tasks need to be accomplished using the furniture device. Obviously, there is support of the body in a manner that is comfortable. There is also the task issue, namely the function the user does while in the chair. This could be eating, working, or merely relaxing. All of these has different parameters that needs to be addressed.

What I am most interested in is how we bring interactivity, and perhaps to an extent, personalization of experience to the humble chair. Looking through Coroflot’s portfolio section, I found this interesting project by Anna Szczesna. There is really a lot more to the project than just seating, which makes the whole thing more interesting, but my interests right now lie in the visualization of body interaction in these seats.

The willful conforming of the seat to the body seems whole and individual to varying body types and positions.  That last sentence I think really explains the future of seating. The craftsmanship of individual experiences or perhaps the capability to craft them, is of root importance. I think the current offering of seating is at best developed for a single static position, and a single task, but we all know that once they leave the factory, they are subject to a variety of situations and interpretations beyond that one static scenario. Since they are not designed for these other situations, they may perform less satisfactorily.

Looking at Szczesna’s chair, you can see the seat is able to morph into different shapes to accept and operate in different situations in a very organic manner – from seating to sleeping. When our living spaces get smaller we will begin to demand more multifunctional and perhaps even more intuitive devices for our homes, like this chair. I think we will also demand a more attentive seating device that is far more attentive to our bodies, not so much a one-size-fits-many.

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