Many words have been added to our everyday vocabulary since last year – COVID, quarantine, social distancing, to name a few. So much have we isolated from people that we have developed post-quarantine social anxiety. Simply put, social anxiety is the fear of social interactions, the interactions that were even a part of our daily life before quarantine, where people have reported loss at how to behave with strangers and carry on social niceties. In some cases, the severity of the anxiety even manifests physically by causing sweating, palpitations, or even panic attacks. As a way of re-entering society without the burden of interaction, the A-part bench was designed.

Cleverly named, the A-part bench (a play-on apart) is a bench that allows you to regulate the distance you want to retain between yourself and the person sitting next to you. The bench is designed to literally help you bridge the space, meet up with a friend you have been dying to see while having them respect the distance you need so you can focus on the happiness of meeting up. As the designers explain, “The importance of bridging this distance, in parts, is double. People maintain the safe distance between them, but in the meantime, psychologically, they feel that they have a goal and they will gradually return to their lives before the pandemic.” The beauty of this design transcends social distancing. If you need a moment to sit in a park without having someone sit next to you, to get that isolation you crave, the A-part bench is your friend in need. The bench comes equipped with adjustable slats that you can move around to create seating of your choice. It can seat two people at the very edges, or you can space out the slats to turn the entire bench into a co-shared experience, A-part gives you the power to choose and regulate your surroundings.

The versatile design allows it to function as an interior bench, with its Scandinavian simplicity makes it easy to merge in with most aesthetics. A-part stands for two different things – to be a little distance away from one another, and it also stands for being a part of something bigger than itself. In this way, the A-part bench is your way to feel comfortable with yourself in a crowd while still being a part of the crowd.

Designer: Loukas Chondros in collaboration with Nikos Kastanakis, Oxymoro Design

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