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RAE 2008

Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design


Student Launches Islington Design Business

An upholstery student at the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design, has set up a new design business in Islington. Artel House is a collaboration of craftspeople including designers, sculptors and photographers who all share a vision of creating unique pieces of furniture that are both traditional and modern at the same time.

The company, which has a shop in St Peter's Street in Islington, takes its name from a Russian co-operative art community in the 1920's.

Recent work by founder Julia Surnina such as her Drag Queen Chair illustrates perfectly Artel House's interest in marrying old and new. She used striking images created by a photographer to create eye-catching fabric for a Victorian chair.

In addition to this spirit of collaboration, Julia’s ethos embraces recycling and she is keen to plunder history to re-use unexpected materials and influences in her work. She is presently working on projects that use the linen from classic cruise ships and decoupage using 1900's newspapers.

Prior to her move to re-upholstery, Julia who is from Kazakhstan studied a degree in Social Psychology and had a very successful career in market research for six years. Talking about her work, she said: "Upholstery is becoming a life style choice, especially for women. This influence is taking the craft out of the traditional male trade territory and injecting new creativity. I see the chair very much as a frame that can be used for any medium and my work as a ‘recovered’ luxury."

Artel House has already featured in an article in the Guardian Interiors supplement written by fellow student and lifestyle changer Elaine Ronson.

March 19, 2008

back to News & Events Archive: March 2008

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