Czech furniture maker's sexy couch creation puts the ‘ah’ in sofa

Inspired by tantric massage, Jan Fišera hopes his SOFAah! will ignite post-lockdown passions while opening up a dialogue on healthy sexuality.

Chloe’ Skye

Written by Chloe’ Skye Published on 11.06.2021 15:43:00 (updated on 07.12.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

The preferred lockdown activities of Czechs reflect their free-spirited culture. Though overall beer consumption in 2020 dropped to a 40-year low of 135 liters per capita due to pub closures, it was only seven liters fewer than in 2019. Many Czechs spent time in the forest, foraging for mushrooms and bear garlic, sewing masks, and baking sourdough bread. Some even continued trying to find love even as restrictions limited the traditional options. 

While the pandemic saw people everywhere increasingly engaged in domestic activities like eating and cleaning, multiple studies suggest a decline in bedroom ones. Jan Fišera the Czech designer behind SOFAah!, an ergonomic couch that lends itself to at least 8 unique approaches to pleasure, agrees that quarantine wasn't good for our sex lives.

"Spending too much time around our loved ones often made us want more space than it made us want to be closer together," says Fišera whose company Smile Design has seen a recent spike in sales. "When everything is the same, sometimes the answer is to change a variable to bring new inspiration/tingles to the bedroom."

That inspiration can also apply to the living room, or the kitchen, depending on your interior decorating style. The couch can also be used as a comfy napping or breastfeeding chair. Despite its many uses, however, the couch's raison d'etre is to ramp up sexual pleasure, something that matters now more than ever, says Fišera.

In general, Czechs are not shy about sexuality, but every culture has its own taboos. Whereas before the pandemic, the idea of having an open discussion about that lost spark was probably among your worst nightmares, lockdown forced couples to face barriers to their intimate life head-on."

Homebound customers may have been a large part of the waved sofa's demographic in 2020, but SOFAah! has been on the market since 2016 (Fišera's first client was, in fact, a foreigner living in Prague). The concept came to him when he and his partner renovated their home in 2015.

“My goal was to bring a seating element into our new home that would be simple, airy and, most importantly, useful. Ideally, it would also bring new inspiration to our intimate life. I searched the internet, but I was not satisfied with the offer anywhere.”

Everything Fišera found was too “bulky” or “robust.” The shapes simply didn’t suit him or his partner. That’s why he decided to design his own piece – and reinvent our understanding of a loveseat.

In contrast to the furniture he had seen online, Fišera wanted the SOFAah! to be comfortable and functional. “We based the design on tantric massages when it is necessary to have good access to all parts of the body and be able to fully receive and dedicate yourself to the experience.”

Tantric massage is a style of bodywork that draws on the principles of tantra, an ancient spiritual practice that draws on Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain traditions. Spiritual practitioners of these traditions often see sex and desire are as a means of transcendence used to reach the Absolute, and not as ends in themselves.

To inspire the range of possible “love games” you can play, Smile Design includes a SOFAah!-specific deck of cards with every purchase. The deck illustrates the variety of positions ideal for its design, and includes 22 starter ideas.

Five years in, Fišera isn’t surprised the final product has started turning more heads. “Czech society and the market have recently started opening to taboo topics such as intimate life and its improvements,” he says.

Since the sofa is narrow, it offers more opportunities for a full experience with both partners” than an everyday sofa that couples might use for experimentation, “and the experience of our customers confirms this.” 

The original design remains the same with the exception of the name change to “SOFAah!” from the original “designsofa.” According to Fišera, “This better captures its essence and tells you what kind of pleasure users will enjoy.” Since 2016, it has only undergone technical improvements and tuning of the upholstery cut.

To ensure that enthusiastic lovers can fit the SOFAah! into their interior design scheme, the couch comes in 12 different colors. White and black were the most popular in a ratio of 40:60 until last year. “We added a bronze leatherette option in 2020, and it now makes up almost a third of orders,” says Fišera.

Customers can also opt to order a custom design as Fišera is always game for a challenge. “Recently, we produced purple, gold, and silver versions, which we have since added to the permanent offering,” he says.

Whether customers use the couch for tantric massage or as a perfect statement furnishing, Fišera has gotten great feedback and is hoping to eventually expand operations into the EU and beyond.

“With a bit of exaggeration, I would say that right after couples therapy, home furnishing is the most desirable industry right now,” Fišera says.

“At this time, caring for home and relationships comes first. Many people are renovating, building, and devoting much more time to caring for the home where they’re spending more and more time.”

This article was written in association with SMILE DESIGN. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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