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1. (WO2005065488) ELEMENT DE MOBILIER
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

Furniture

Field of Invention

The present invention relates to furniture and, particularly but not exclusively, to furniture for use either indoors or outdoors.

Background

Furniture on which a user may sit or lounge has been known for centuries, the most prevalent form in recent decades being the sofa. Whilst a sofa is adept at permitting a user to be seated or more generally lounge on it, it is not without drawbacks. One problem commonly encountered is that prolonged sitting or lounging can be uncomfortable, thus resulting in routine changes of the user's position.

A commonly known variant to the sofa is a beanbag. A beanbag is capable of offering improved comfort since it is filled with a quantity of beads that allow the beanbag to better adapt to the contours of the user's body. However, unless the beanbag is of a vast size in relation to the size of the user, during the course of use the beads in the beanbag often shift to result in the user being sat on the floor with no beads between their body and the floor. As with the sofa, prolonged sitting or lounging on the beanbag can be uncomfortable as a result and may cause routine changes in the user's position to maintain a satisfactory level of comfort.

It is an object of the present invention to provide furniture that overcomes or ameliorates the problems with the prior art furniture.

Summary of Invention

According to the first aspect of the present invention therefore, there is provided a piece of furniture comprising a bag portion encapsulating a mouldable filler material; the furniture further comprising support means which is configured to support the bag portion and permit the furniture to be suspended above the ground; the support means is provided with at least four attachment points.

Preferably the support means and the bag portion are integrally formed. Alternatively, the bag portion is releasably attachable to the support means.

Preferably an inner bag is provided, the inner bag being configured to retain the mouldable filler material, the bag portion being disposed to encapsulate the inner bag. Ideally, the inner bag is removable from the bag portion.

It is preferable for the support means to be connected to a structure which is located remote from and at least partially above the support means. The structure may be the ceiling of a room or, alternatively, a framework possessing sufficient ground clearance for the furniture to be disposed beneath an upper section thereof without being in contact with the ground.

The structure may be provided with anchor points that may correspond to the attachment points of the piece of furniture. One suitable form of anchor point may be a swing hook.

Preferably one or more chains or the like, such as ropes, is provided for connection of the attachment points of the support means to the structure. Even more preferably, one chain or the like is provided for each attachment point. The one or more chains may be provided with hooks or brackets or the like to permit ease of attachment to the attachment/anchor points.

The filler material may be any suitable material which takes the form, to some degree, of the shape of an object placed on the bag portion. When a user places their body on the bag portion, the filler material should preferably be able to accommodate the contours of the user's body. Preferably the filler material is of granular form, such as in the form of beads. Where beads are present as the filler material, any suitable form of beads, such as polystyrene beads, may be used.

Advantageously the piece of furniture of the present invention can provide a platform that is mouldable to the contours of the user's body. This arrangement may offer the user significantly more comfort and practicality than would be afforded by use of a conventional seating arrangement, as provided by a beanbag or a sofa for instance.

The one or more chains may be adjustable to allow one or more attachment points to be located at a higher position relative to the other attachment point(s). This arrangement may permit the user to adjust the gradient of the platform so that the user may be better disposed to view an object located remote from the furniture, such as a television for instance.

The bag portion and/or the support means may be made from any suitable flexible material. Preferably the bag portion and/or the support means are made from marine-quality fabric.

The materials used in the piece of furniture may be flame-retardant, or may have been treated to possess flame-retardant properties.

Ideally, for the sake of practicality, the materials used in the piece of furniture are machine washable.

The attachment points are provided in the support means in any suitable shape to permit engagement with the one or more chains. The attachment points may possess reinforcement, such as a metal eyelet, preferably made of stainless steel, to ensure a robust attachment between the support means and the structure. The support means may also be reinforced in the areas adjacent the attachment points. The reinforcement of the support means may be provided in the form of additional marine-quality material or, alternatively or additionally, a different reinforcing material could be provided, such as terylene or the like.

Preferably the piece of furniture is provided in a size of approximately 2 metres x 1.75 metres. Alternatively, the piece of furniture may be provided in a size of approximately 1 metre x 1.75 meters.

According to a second aspect of the present invention therefore there is provided a furniture system comprising a bag portion encapsulating a mouldable filler material; the furniture further comprising support means which are configured to permit the furniture to be suspended above the ground, the support means being provided with at least four attachment points; wherein the bag portion and support means are suspended above the ground by engagement of the attachment points with a structure at least partially disposed thereabove, the engagement being facilitated by at least one chain attached between the attachment points and the structure.

Specific Embodiment

In order for the present invention to be more readily understood an embodiment of the invention will now be described in detail be way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 shows a perspective view of a piece of furniture in use;

Fig. 2 shows a plan view of the piece of furniture prior to use; and

Fig. 3 shows a magnified view of a corner of furniture shown in Fig. 2.

As can be seen in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2, the piece of furniture comprises a support means 2 that is almost square in cross-section. In each corner is located an attachment point 4, this is referred to in more detail below with reference to Fig. 3.

Fig. 1 shows the furniture in use. Each attachment point 4 has a chain 6 fixed thereto. The chains 6 are in turn attached to hooks (not shown) that have been fixed into the joists of a ceiling (not shown). In use the furniture provides a platform suspended above the floor.

A bag portion 8 is located on an upper surface of the support means 2, as shown in Fig. 1. The bag portion 8 may be integral with the support means 2, however, the bag portion 8 shown in Fig. 1 is fixed to the support means 2 and encapsulates an inner bag (not shown). The inner bag securely contains a quantity of polystyrene beads. In use, the beads are capable of adapting to the contours of a user's body thus providing a comfortable platform for sitting or lounging which does not encounter the drawbacks of the prior art.

Fig. 2 shows the support means 2 without the bag portion 8 and laid out flat. As can be seen in Fig. 3, the attachment point 4 contains extra stitching and reinforcing material 10 in the form of terlyene. The reinforcing material 10 surrounds the attachment point 4 in order to support its load bearing function when in use.

Advantageously, since the piece of furniture of the present invention is suspended above the ground, the cleaning of a room in which the furniture is located is made easier by virtue of ease of access to the floor space beneath.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, numerous modifications and variations can be made to the embodiments specifically described herein without departing from the invention.

For instance, different shapes of support members could be used. For instance, the support member could be roughly octagonal in shape and have eight attachment points located in each corner. The attachment points may be located other than in the corner of the support means.

For outdoor use, if a suitable structure is not readily available to suspend the furniture above the ground, a framework could be constructed to facilitate the suspension of the furniture.