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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Umarmung, a floor-sitting couch in Tokyo, Japan by Cheungvogl

April 21st, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source:  Cheungvogl

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.


  • Architects: Cheungvogl
  • Project: Umarmung, a floor-sitting couch
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Period: 2009-2010
  • Designer: cheungvogl (Hong Kong) 
  • Manufacturer: private client / custom made piece (Japan)
  • Inspired by: floor-sitting culture in Japan
  • Material: Reinforced polyester resin, covered with flame-retardant polyurethane foam.
  • Colours: white
  • Dimension: 2000mm/700mm/600mm
  • Specification:Reinforced polyester resin complete with steel support, covered with eco-friendly flame-retardant polyurethane foam. The process adopts the latest variable pressure foaming (VPF) technology. It minimizes the environmental impact as it is virtually emissions-free.


 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.


Through the early history of Japan, various ways of sitting were regarded as ‘proper’, such as sitting cross-legged, sitting with one knee raised, or sitting to the side. People’s social circumstances, clothing styles, and the places where they sat naturally brought about their manners of sitting. The development, in the Muromachi period, of Japanese architecture in which the floors were completely covered with tatami (thick straw mats), combined with the strict formalities of the ruling warrior class for which this style of architecture was principally designed, heralded the adoption of the sitting posture known today as seiza as the respectful way to sit. However, it probably was not until around the years surrounding the turn of the 18th century (the Genroku to Kyōhō eras in Japanese history) that the Japanese generally adopted this manner of sitting in their everyday lives. In present-day Japan, traditional-style tatami-floored rooms, and circumstance where one should sit ‘properly’ in this manner on the tatami/floor, have become uncommon, and many people in Japan are consequently unaccustomed to sitting seiza.



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Category: Furniture

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