Furniture doesn’t evolve. A couch is a couch, a chair is a chair, and that’s it. The chairs of 2015 won’t be more technologically advanced than those of today. By default, furniture is basic, and often serves one purpose. A seat is for sitting, a desk is for working, and that’s the end of it.
But that doesn’t mean that this paradigm can’t be changed. A relatively new company that goes by the name of Omni has created a product – let’s call it a piece of furniture – that changes shape and usage as much as you change your mind about what size plasma television to buy. Their product, called the Sumo Lounge, appears to be a simple bean bag chair, but does a bit more, as you’ll see below.
Several afternoons ago, the delivery man places a massive box outside of my doorstep. And this is what was inside:
My first thought was, “My, this looks like a dog mat, but for humans.” It’s a huge 5.5 x 4.5 feet. Despite its large size, it’s actually quite light in weight. Getting past my initial reaction, I proceeded to sit on the Omni, expecting it to be soft and comfortable. Instead, the thick nylon that covered the object was rough and uncomfortable. Since I try to be fair in my evaluations and not generate my opinion of the product based on an initial observation, I continued to lay on the Omni for several minutes, and discovered that the product had conformed itself to my body, much like memory foam. I started to get comfortable.
Though she fell asleep, my girlfriend later confirmed that the mat was actually quite comfortable after a few moments.
But my testing didn’t stop there. In reading the website, it was touted as more than just a mat – “It’s a crash mat, lounge chair, love seat or floor pillow.” Having read the claim, I began experimenting. I lifted the mat off the ground, fluffed it up a bit, and placed it in a taller “blob” on the ground. To my surprise, the Omni was able to hold it’s shape very well – probably a result of the thick nylon used to cover the product.
Above we find the Omni making a terrific seat, perfect for playing games on a mobile device, or listening to some tunes on an iPod.
If you’re more interested in relaxing, you can lean backwards, and the back portion of the Omni will become a backrest. Since the product conforms to your body, you could imagine how comfortable this position may be. From here, you can straddle the bag (much like a horse), or let your feet dangle.
On their website, Sumo Lounge shows other ways that the Omni can be utilized.
They call this the “tub,” though I’m not sure exactly why. I actually wasn’t able to get my Omni to stand upright like this – perhaps it takes a bit of practice.
This could be an interesting position for watching TV.
You can get the Omni to stand completely upright so that you can maintain a decent posture. I don’t recommend bringing it to the dinner table, but it could serve as an excellent study chair.
So it seems that Sumo Lounge has achieved its objective in creating a versatile piece of furniture. The Omni is unique compared to a standard bean bag chair in that it holds its shape and conforms to your body. This creates a dozen seating options – something that your ordinary sofa or chair can’t do. I should also note that the Omni comes in eight colors. My unit, shown in the beginning of this review, is Midnight Blue, while the Omni above is Fiery Red.
Who’s going to use this? Coming to mind is the dormitory-living crowd. In small spaces, furniture takes up a lot of room. To be able to use the Omni as a chair, seat for two, or even futon, is a huge benefit for the space-limited student. Since the unit also repels water and is stain resistant, it’s quite durable. This would also be good for those that like to entertain; though some guests may prefer a traditional chair, others may find it interesting to plop down in an Omni.
The Omni?Omni is available direct from the manufacturer.
MSRP: $129-149 (depending on color), with free shipping
What I Like: Color choices, versatility, comfort.
What Needs Improvement: Softness of the covering material, no size/shape choices available.