Workshopped 14: Stools, Stools, Stools!

Workshopped is an innovative Australian company who “…..nurture Australian design excellence and facilitate successful commercial relationships between designers, industry and the market, both locally and internationally.”

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To encourage this they have been running an annual exhibition that has now presented the work of over 300 Australian and New Zealand designers to over half-a-million people. This year as part of Sydney Design Week designers were asked to share their thought processes in developing ideas, designs and products – “from a clean slate”.

WS14So, with a “clean slate” to work with, why do the majority of designers who entered want to design a stool? Could it be that designers see so many knock offs of the Tolix or the Aalto 60 stools and others, in Australia, that their design sensibilities are offended or do they see an opportunity?  So did any of the entrants of Workshopped 14 take up the opportunity and add something different to the design conversation of the stool. I don’t think so. There were some very well made and cleverly designed and manufactured stools. But do they get to a price point that challenges the knock offs or do they do anything better than the stools already available in the marketplace?

What’s a stool for, well the main purpose is that you can sit on it, or use it as a side table and sometimes perhaps even for changing a light bulb! Well actually you couldn’t sit on any of the stools, as there were signs everywhere warning you “DO NOT SIT”. I don’t get that you can’t evaluate the product for the main reason it’s been designed for.WS11WS10

Charles Eames famously said design addresses the need. So is there a need for more stools?  You can see some examples of the stools at this years Workshopped below and make up your own mind if any of the submissions are good enough to take on the knock offs or the existing stools already in the marketplace

My favourite product wasn’t a stool funnily enough but a Swiss Army knife / come wallet, the Mesh Card by Silo. Now I have had the need in a meeting to open a bottle and have a stand for my iPhone…it was a late meeting. So having those features in a product that I will have with me all the time, holding my cash and protecting my credit cards from RFID, now there’s a need that Silo spotted!

To see more details of the stools and the other products that weren’t stools ! Click attached link



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