Finnish designer Kirsi Enkovaara wants people to reevaluate how they sit. Because most chairs just don’t let you get creative with your sitting. They limit you to some variation of the obedient straight-backed posture; the casual, spine-killing slump; and the DGAF legs-on-desk pose.
For Enkovaara’s graduate project at London’s Royal College of Art, she created a nearly 20-foot-long ribbed mat, made of canvas stuffed with rice. Instead of making your body conform to the chair, this chair conforms to your body. It can wrap around on itself to form a cozy burrow, it can undulate like ribbon candy, or it can fold simply into a minimalist chaise lounge. Called The Body, the mat resembles a giant, cuddly flatworm. It mimics our ability to contort our limbs into weird sculptural shapes–something that traditional chairs don’t accommodate.
The grains of rice inside let the mat hold its shape until you choose to reconfigure it. Enkovaara experimented with other granular stuffing materials, including plastic pellets, but found rice–which has a history of being used as stuffing in pillows in Japan–to be the most effective and eco-friendly. As Enkovaara demonstrates in a video, dancers, and yogis in particular might have fun lolling about or contorting themselves around the mat and watching it respond to their movements.