POSTURES for Furniture Design -1

Post 250 – by Gautam Shah



Human body is a segmented system. Each of the segments has varied needs of stability, comfort and need for transition to other positions. Some human body positions are substantially formed by the individual limbs, but many others are operational in consonance with other limbs. Stability of the body depends upon the stability of the individual limbs and the state of composition of the limbs.


Gravity is the major force that affects the equilibrium of individual parts, and the body system as whole. Individual parts readjust to contribute the stability of the system, where for some reason their contribution fall short other segments augment that effort.



Human body manifests in many different ways. Position is a very nominal term for a composition effected by the segments of the human body. This is nominal static state, in consideration of stability, comfort and need for transition to other positions. The Posture is a purposive position attained intentionally, or a condition borne of habitual response to a situation. The Pose is a reflection of position or posture that expressly communicates or involuntarily conveys some form aesthetic intentions. A pose requires some degree of posturing, when several segments have to be manipulated and often beyond the stability of gravity balancing. Attitude is considered impressionistic posturing or posing. Intentional or not, it is used to express or imitate through learnt forms of behaviour. Attitude is seen as minor manifestation of posture and pose, but mainly through the gestures. Gestures convey messages, idea, information and attitudes, through movement of part of the body, especially hands, head, eyes and facial twitches. Postures encourage certain range of gestures.



Furniture Design is essentially about creating forms to support, encourage and sustain certain body positions. There could be several optional ways of doing it due to climate, culture, habit, social conditioning and racial differences in anthropometrics. So in this sense an item of furniture is as universal as human body is, and as diverse as the users are. The Furniture item as devised by trial and error and with intense design attitude, both have to foster a posture system. This posture system is then exploited by the user for posing, gesticulation and attitudinal purposes. Some of these aspects can be intentionally impressed in the design, through the symbolism of form, material usage and technological explorations.




Furniture designers deal with following Quarries in their field:

  • What is posture?
  • How does one acquire a posture, sustain it, relieve the tedium and transpose it with another posture?
  • Why do we take a posture?
  • How does gravity affect a posture?
  • To conduct an activity, would you really need the same type of posture in an environment without the gravity?
  • How would you differentiate between comfortable and non comfortable postures?
  • What causes discomfort in a posture?
  • What is the role of vascular circulation in posturing?
  • What is the role of accumulation of body fluids in postures?
  • What is the role of axial balance system of body in a posture?
  • What is the role of sensual perception vis a vis a posture?
  • What is the role of sensorial communication vis a vis a posture?
  • What is the role of metabolic activity in a posture?
  • What are yoga and exercise postures?
  • What are skeletal movements?
  • What are muscular movements?
  • If one had lower capacity to move the parts of body (old age, children, disabled people), would it affect the capacity for a posture?
  • If one had higher capacity to move the parts of body (sports people, circus artists), would it affect their capacity for a posture?
  • What are micro postures within a posture?
  • Why do we make micro variations within a posture?
  • What do postures express or communicate?