Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl explore the rituals and traditions of sitting in Japan’s culture and come up with Umarmung, an enigmatic and unexpected sitting object/device. Umarmung is an internal landscape, a three dimensional tatami. Its geometry provides a multitude of different cross sections that allow different sitting postures. One may inhabit this mysterious object in various ways ranging from the ‘proper’ Japanese seiza sitting posture to any casual and relaxing way to lounge around.
Cheungvogl describe the concept of Umarmung and provide us with some background information regarding sitting in the Japanese tradition as follows:
‘Umarmung is inspired by the long tradition of floor-sitting culture in Japan where the connection between the body and conversations is not restricted to universal seat height and conventional definition of sofa. Much to our surprise, through our research and conversations with local manufacturers, the floor-sitting couch is unknown and non-existent in Japan furniture design other than the zaisu chair (legless chair) used for tatami room.
Umarmung, a floor-sitting couch, is a backrest which supports the body in comfortable positions while sitting on the floor. The gradual curved profile receives the body whether it is sitting up straight or leaning back. Its floating shape simply translates its functional qualities into singular aesthetics.