LIVING SANTA with ARGOT STUDIO
This summer took us to Paris, where we met Eimear Ryan, designer and founder of Argot Studio. A chance at reconnecting after a first contact online, we visited her studio, where our admiration for her innovative yet familiar values and stunning work grew even stronger. This visual story is an interplay of visual languages where Argot and Santa meet: a collaboration born out of mutual admiration and respect during a fruitful encounter on a balmy summer day.
Argot seems to be a living bridge between the raw and natural and the sophisticated and man-made. How did this unique concept come about?
The concept came about very organically. I was working as an interior designer for a firm where I was gaining great experience but I wasn’t at all able to bring about my own design tastes. I began with an Instagram account as an outlet for my drawings, inspiration, and imagery spaces filled with argot furniture and objects. Little by little I began to make these pieces, first in wood with my Dad and then as you see today, 3D printing.
What drew you to 3D printing and why did you choose this production method?
The more I felt I really wanted to bring these ‘imaginary’ objects to life the more I was in search of a viable and, of course, sustainable method for making them. It was my husband Jean-Eloi that had recently bought a 3D printer for home to play around with. We used it to create sculptural vases for a project I did at the time, and people seemed to really like the materiality of it. We really wanted to change people’s minds about the stereotypical image of 3D printed objects and shiny plastic, so we worked hard on the finish and texture.
Pure lines and forms seem significant in your designs. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around, I’m inspired a lot by architecture – from large modernist structures to small details. But yet again, I’m also inspired by nature and organic curves and lines. I think the contrast between the two is interesting. This, mixed with the technology of 3D printing, produces an interesting result, I think.
Your work questions the expectations of 3D printing and its possibilities. Is it challenging to produce such natural-looking yet gravity-defying shapes as the 3D printed garments you made for Loewe?
This project in particular was incredibly challenging as there were several new factors in the mix, notably the scale (much larger than anything we’ve done) and the fact it was flexible. Gravity, temperature, and speed were all hurdles we had to overcome. But that is why we love this method of production: as challenging as it is, it also provides so many opportunities to create innovative designs!
What principles rule your design process?
I am not the most organized person even though I am constantly trying to be better at this. Things tend to flow into my mind at all times. Also now, with argot objects, we have 3 collections a year, and so I have a cycle of designing. It goes from the research and development of an idea, a concept, to sketching and bringing something together, then moving to the computer and 3D-model it to print for prototyping. We then spend quite a lot of time prototyping, improving, choosing final pieces. If I had my way, I would always travel somewhere interesting before starting a new collection but sometimes the combination of Covid and time means you have to look closer for inspirations 🙂
Do you follow a version of these principles when decorating and adorning your home? bedside table?
My home is more of a collection of things I’ve collected along the way that mean a lot and that truly represent my style and my life with my husband. My favourite pieces are two oak reading chairs we found in an antique store in the French countryside, they’re by designer Alain Gaubert and my dad offered them to us as a wedding gift. Also the Eileen Gray lamp I got for my 30th birthday – she is a big inspiration for me of course!
How do you define innovation?
In my own context, it means being resourceful and finding the best solutions for a problem. In my case the problem to solve was the production of design pieces, using 3D printing is a sustainable solution for that and it’s only the beginning. I think this technology can grow a lot in the coming years.
The values behind your work make us think you are also a proponent of slow living, a concept that’s central to the SANTA universe. What does slow living mean for you?
I feel like Argot and my life kind of merge, so work doesn’t feel like work as such. I think, however, that it’s so difficult for most people today to find a nice balance between everything we have to juggle and I too still have a lot of work to do on this. I think liking what you do is a great start! 🙂
Captured by Santa Living
at Argot Studio’s Atelier.