Get some peace with privacy chairs
THE wing-back club chair is a classic piece of home furniture. In bygone times, upper-class men liked to sit in a solid club chair, drink cognac and smoke cigars.
"For a long time, wing-back chairs were about sitting down and presenting yourself to others," said German designer Matthias Demacker. "You would sit in one as if you were royalty on a throne."
But, times have changed, and it is no longer cool for men to puff on a cigar while lounging in a chair.
Designers have adapted to modern tastes by creating armchairs with higher sides and with more space to sit. These new chairs provide a refuge to hide in and avoid the hustle and bustle of your surroundings.
"The current trend is moving towards having a niche you can retreat into comfortably," said Mr Demacker.
The trade jargon for this kind of armchair is the privacy chair.
Mr Demacker designed his Basket chair with that in mind. Its sides and back are unusually high, and is available as a one- or two-seater.
Originally, designers created the plus-sized chairs to provide more privacy in hotel lobbies or offices. But today's sofas and chairs are ideal for adding an extra touch of privacy to the home.
Ms Meike Willutzky, who represents Belgian furniture firm BuzziSpace in Germany, said: "People not only want a place to get some quiet in the office, but also at home."
Many modern apartments are designed so that home life is played out in a large studio-like environment.
This enforced openness can be a problem for some families: The TV set is on constantly in the background, while a child plays - loudly - with toy bricks.
A privacy chair helps build a room within a room by helping to block out background noise. Its materials also go some way to creating this effect.
BuzziSpace's Me chair, for example, is upholstered with extra-thick sound-absorbing foam.
British designer Benjamin Hubert's Pod encloses the sitter in a kind of protective bowl.
Meanwhile, Finnish designer Mikko Laakkonen won a prestigious international design prize, the Red Dot Award, for his two-seater Aura chair this year.
The Peekaboo chair from Bla Station is even equipped with a dome under which the sitter's head can disappear completely.
A slightly more open variation of the design is the Layer lounge chair from German designers Julia Laeufer and Marcus Keichel.
The chair has unusually high sides and Ms Laeufer has described it as "a room for concentration".
However, the sides and rear are not higher than the sitter's head, which allows a certain amount of flexibility.
She said: "You can decide if you want to show yourself, or if you just want to sink into the chair."
THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK