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Solitude

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After an art foundation course in Surrey, Argyrou studied product and furniture design at Ravensbourne College in east London. She worked in London and Amsterdam, and spent some time in Cyprus with traditional craftsmen who worked in wood and ceramics. She has just graduated from the RCA and would like to work for a small studio where she could reinterpret craft-based techniques and traditional influences.


THE DESIGN

Based on the chairs that are used in Cypriot churches, Argyrou’s design is a deliberately solid design that both gives the occupant a sense of permanence and defines their position in space. In this way it gives them a feeling of privacy even thought they are among other. Made in cherry, it has solid sides that use the full two-inch (5cm) thickness of the wood, with a hinged fold-down seat between them. With the seat down, the user can step back entirely into their own private space.


Four turned-wood posts rise from the corners, joined by narrower turned members to create a back and armre
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sts. This use of turning echoes one of the skills of traditional Cypriot craftsmen. Cherry is a timber that is relatively easy to turn, and Argyrou also chose it because it is one of the timbers that is used in Cypriot church furniture. She liked its warm colour which still allows you to see the elements of the workmanship, unlike the dark colour of walnut, another traditional timber, which tends to obscure the details.


LIFECYCLE CONSIDERATIONS

The design of this chair requires the use of a relatively large volume of wood, and while it would be possible to reduce the quantity of timber, for example through the use of lamination, this would contravene its aesthetic purpose. It is intended to be weighty and durable. In sustainability terms the durability is an important factor. Church furniture can easily last for over a century, and there is no reason why this chair should not do the same. It is robust and will not fall out of fashion. With no delicate parts that could fail, it should ensure a long lifespan in this form for the timber that it embodies.
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