Seat Thickness – New Research Shows Less is More

Coming Together for Well-Being

Gathering is a fundamental to human nature, and the act of sharing experiences can greatly enhance our wellbeing. But if these experiences include long periods of sitting - shows, meetings, lectures, movies – how do we ensure that the sitting itself does not have a negative impact our welfare?  

Research Findings

As part of their ongoing programme of ergonomic research and innovation, our colleagues and design collaborators at Kotobuki Group in Japan* have been working with researchers at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kitasato University, to look at the affect that seat design has on the human body – with some illuminating results.  

Many of us assume when we see a thickly padded seat that this will give us a better sitting experience. But Kotobuki’s engineers had long suspected that thicker seats may have an impact on health - inhibiting the movement of the knee joint and reducing blood flow to the lower leg.  

Published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, the study, entitled ‘Effect of Seat Thickness on Peak Femoral Vein Velocity’ demonstrates how a well-designed seat with a thinner seat pan can allow the knee joint around 50% more movement than a well-padded seat. Importantly, long periods of sitting in poorly designed seats can significantly reduce blood flow to lower limbs. The study shows how good chair design can have a real impact on this.

Meeting is part of our make-up. By considering and measuring the physical impact of sitting, the Kotobuki Group are working towards ensuring that when people get together, it is comfortable, enjoyable and healthy.        


Designed for health: In the study, Kotobuki's Spacia chair was compared to a seat with a thicker seat pan.



Tozaki K, Takahira N, Takashima Y, Ohno K 2021, ‘Effect of Seat Thickness on Peak Femoral Vein Velocity’ International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, vol 86, 103222

You can read the abstract here   



*Kotobuki is the parent company of Audience Systems Ltd and a longstanding knowledge partner in our chair design. Our Espace, Recital and Zenith chair ranges are all collaborations between Audience Systems at the team at Kotobuki.