Sitting on (or nearly on) the floor is a tradition that has gradually made its way around the world, and as this contemporary dining collection illustrates: the aesthetic has evolved as the idea has traveled.
In fact, if one were to add some legs to these chairs – or take the table outside of a dinner setting – it would be difficult to say these sets were anything but European, despite being made by modern Japanese furniture company Hara. Curved and simply-carved wood backs bring Prairie School and other forms of Early Modernism to mind, while optional armrests make conventional extensions.
Cloth backs and floor cushions ease a diner into the experience, while curved surface edges along the length of the table are also a bit more forgiving should one have trouble slipping down and under to begin with.
Another version of this legless traditional Japanese chair by Japan House Design founder Hara Kenya (no relation to Yoshiteru Hara of Hara Design) features a more ergonomic, organic and curved shape. This update on the traditional Zaisu chair has an elegant, fluid design perfect for floor sitting comfortably. The chair was selected for permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2017.
“With the theme, ‘Furniture for One’s Own Use Produced by Six Designers’, I created a legless floor chair using the bent wood technique,” says Hara. “In a tatami-matted study in my house, below the desk there’s a sunken area like horigotatsu (a sunken space built into the floor with a heat source underneath and a hanging quilt to retain warmth). I sit flat on the floor with my feet in this sunken area. When I sit there working for long hours, a back support becomes crucial. Therefore, I produced an exoskeleton-like chair characterized by its body-fitting seating surface and a product presence that’s easy on the eye.”