The Ottoman Effect — A Carista Mystery

12/12/2018

Our technical team lead, Yanko, was discussing an interesting feature that appeared in some Toyota models; "the ottoman rear seat." The term describes a function that works on some rear seats in specific models.

The Sienna: "For even more passenger comfort, there is standard second-row lounge seating on the XLE and Limited model, which includes leg and foot support.

The second-row seats also feature a Tip Up and Long Slide feature, allowing them to slide forward and back on extended rails, making more room for people or cargo as the need arises."

Using the Carista App you could add a beep while moving the left/right rear seat

(Beta Only)

You could also set a function to allow rear passengers an easier exit from the vehicle.

(On general release)

* * *

I was more interested in why Toyota (and other manufacturers) used such an evocative title, being more used to the more mechanical widgets, grommets and sprockets of automotive language."

Maybe the visual aspect or a specific styling cue gives a better clue.

Let's take a look at some design antecedents.

Below is the famous Eames chair with it's ottoman.

The Eames chair shows an ottoman as a kind of footstool, detached from the main chair. We can see how this function relates to the Toyota version, but it's not really a footstool.

This is a modern recliner chair by LAFER

The features on the recliner more closely resemble the action of it's automotive cousin. Raising the legs while lowering the head. So why not call the feature a "recliner"instead?

I can readily see why recliner was not the choice. Recliner usually refers to the seat-back recline function actuated by a little wheel or handle. Footrest doesn't describe it accurately either, so what's left? Well, "ottoman" is available!

Case closed, for now.

These ideas tickle the minds at Carista. The story goes that Steve Jobs had similar queries on furniture, form, functionality and design...to the degree that it took him years to furnish his house. So maybe we're asking the right types of question after all,.. we're in the right company at least.

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https://www.bebee.com/producer/@dphilpott/the-ottoman-effect-a-carista-mystery