Stool_One ~ Enbracing Minimalism

As unattainable as Vitra’s W. W. Stool can be, there is a pretty decent alternative to the sculptural brilliancy of Philippe Starck’s create. Enter the Stool_One from Magis. Designed in 2006 by Konstantin Grcic, the Stool_One is a stackable bar stool with hard geometric lines in contrast to the W. W. Stool’s organic lines. It is stackable too. The Stool_One is revolutionary in it’s material engineering. Konstantin Grcic’s idea of a chair with more open space than solid is very much similar to Bertoia’s idea of a wiremesh chair that does not block one’s visuals. This, together with his bold move of using a material not explored by the industry in creating such products is, in my opinion, as revolutionary as Harry Bertoia when Bertoia created the family of Wire Chairs.

Magis Stool_One by Konstantin Grcic

The Seat of the Stool_One is fashioned from die-cast aluminium while it’s legs are anodised aluminium. The Stool_One is then painted in Polyester Powder and is suitable for outdoor uses as well. The interconnecting branches that forms the cantilevered seat structure. Grcic’s philosophy in designing this family of chairs is to use “the least material to create the most product”. As in Konstantin Grcic’s own words, he “broke a seat shell down into pure structure, taking away all of the surfaces, taking away all the material that is not absolutely necessary and creating a very three-dimensional object that combined structure with comfort.” But it is not a seat that one may find comfortable, at least, not by the looks of it. That is the first reaction of my wife when I introduced the Stool One to her.

Stool_One used in Outdoors

I had not tried it myself to find out whether it is comfortable or not. Comparing the Magis Stool_One to Knoll’s Wire Stools, the Wire stools looks more positive. I had also tried the wire stool and find it having decent comfort. But Grcic’s creation does not send this message. Grcic acknowledges that too and sees its as a positive impact. Grcic feels that if a chair is more comfortable than it looks, it brings positive surprise to the people who tried it. With my 2 cents worth, I have to agree with Grcic to a certain extend. Psychologically, if the mind thinks that the Stool_One is not going to be comfortable from the looks of it, the person’s expectation drops together with it. Hence, when the person takes seat on the Stool_One, the Stool_One need not provide extreme levels of comfort to fulfil the person’s expectations. Hence, it could easily exceed the expectations. Nevertheless, there is always the other side of the coin where some people will form a mindset and will feel uncomfortable regardless of the levels of comfort the Stool_One can provide.

<UPDATE: I finally got the chance to try out the Stool_One at Magis’ Authorised Dealers in Singapore, XTRA last weekend. I do not know if reading Grcic’s reverse pyschology in playing down the comfort levels of the stool played a part in bringing up my expectations with regard to comfort. I do find the Stool_One uncomfortable. It does not provide the even spreading out of the weight on the skeletal seat, unlike the more linear grid layout of the wires in Bertoia’s Wire Stools. The overall sitting experience is disappointing, so as to speak. 😦 The Stool_One shines in terms of looks, but lack in comfort. The Wire Stool does not look as fantastic as the Stool_One, but offers much greater comfort. Given a choice between the Stool_One and the Wire Stool, I guess I will still take Bertoia’s Wire Stool for a more balanced comfort and looks after experiencing the Stool_One. But well, there are always other choices which we will see in my future posts. 🙂 >

With the design story at the back of our heads, let’s get back to the design of the chair. It is a sculpture to me and I had admitted in my previous post that I love scuptural furnishings. The geometrical lines and having only the necessary for the Stool_One also works extremely well with the minimalist theme of my plans. This is a minimalist bar stool. It’s design philosophy speaks minimalism, it’s lines speaks minimalism. But as with all designer stuff, the price will not tell you a tale about minimalism. Nevertheless, this is an ideal piece should my next home is big enough for a Dry Kitchen. A White Magis Stool_One certainly has a place in my plans.

White Magis Stool_One Bar Stools from Elle Magazine

Multi-Dimensional Views of the Multi-Dimensional Design

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