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Lost in Sofa and the Actions in Between Furniture Design

09/11/2010

One of the more interesting ( at least to me) thoughts I had recently was how there are actions in between all the major actions we have furniture designed to help us with.  This thought stemmed from thinking of furniture as a form of interaction design rather than making another chair, or something. We really have enough quality chairs so if someone is going to make another one, it had better be functionally special and I think there is quite a bit of potential there.

Back to the thought at hand, my theorem is that there are a number of things that happen between when we stop watching TV on the couch and go get a something from the fridge, for example. People don’t exist in only two conditions in the living room: standing and sitting. When you stop to think of all the other things that happen between those positions and actions, I think it opens up a lot of thinking as to how furniture-human interaction should be designed.

Take, for instance, this chair by Daisuke Motogi. Cleverly designing a seat with even more cushion seams – a trend that most of the world is running from – creates an interaction that allows for even greater utility. The chair becomes a holder of items, maybe a bookcase, maybe a table or maybe something else. Whatever it becomes, the concept of what the chair’s human interaction value has increased. The seat is no longer a place that’s slightly more comfortable than the floor, it’s a center for the user. It contains item which the user perhaps commonly uses or perhaps items that create an emotional comfort, thus the chair makes itself a personalized personal space for the user.

By allowing this storage and personalization, the chair moves past a temporary, single use item and into something much more valuable. The chair becomes a device that provides a number of functions that facilitates eases of transitions between actions. It is the place that also holds your book while you freshen up, your phone when you’re done calling, or perhaps when you’re calling on speaker, etc. Obviously, this can be done with what we usually call, a ‘table’ but the value is the diminishing of the transition between states of rest, as well as the capability to easily modify it to make it your own, which I think is what they call comfort.

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