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Brief Published: 16 Oct 2018

Beijing Design Week Highlight: Sensory Chair Collection

Yuming Hu

Furniture is increasingly being considered as a tool to support emotional states as well as the body, with designers employing physically stimulating elements to engage the mind. This is illustrated in a new chair collection by Chinese designer Yuming Hu, which explores how sensorial design can help the user achieve improved relaxation, productivity and ergonomic support.

Exhibited at this year’s Beijing Design Week (September 26 to October 5), the range of six chairs engage the body in different ways. Each chair is designed to satisfy the micro-movements that one’s hands, arms, back, legs and feet make when sitting down.

One chair has a back that extends out into a large hoop decorated with curved barbs that hold two smaller hoops. This design allows the user to stretch out their arms and back by reaching up to hold onto the smaller hoops while remaining seated.

Two curved wheel-like legs on one chair enable the user to rock forwards to assist with standing up, while a curved backrest on another allows the sitter to position themselves at any angle.

To help with concentration, the chairs feature pedals and silver balls to engage the feet and fingers. According to Hu, the hands need to be considered more often in design: “The activity of the hands is very rich. Imagine that holding a glass of red wine in your hand will make you more confident when talking to others. The satisfaction of hand movements will make us feel natural and safe.”

By incorporating responsive elements into design, users are able to release nervous energy and find their unique position for comfort. For more on the importance of sensorial design, see Sensory Product within our Spotlight Trend The Sensory Opportunity.