BoardGrove Architects’ seating design for MPavilion 2020 responds to the need for ‘physical distancing’ in times of pandemic. Stool Dolly considers how individuals can informally create separation through spatial means. The Australian design is reminiscent of paper dolls connected by out-stretched limbs, as each Stool Dolly can be positioned at ‘arm’s length’ (1.5m) or interlocked.
It was very important that the MPavilion stool commission respond cleverly and positively to the challenges brought on by the pandemic. The key design brief was to create seating for audiences to enjoy MPavilion's cultural programming of events apart from each other, yet still together - for patrons to feel safe in a crowd, but not alone. It was also necessary that the stools be stackable, lightweight and easy to reconfigure. Another consideration was durability to ensure the stools last a 4-month season of daily events, as well as be easy to clean and disinfect.
BoardGrove Architects responded to the MPavilion's design brief both practically and playfully. Mimicking the concept of children's paper dolls standing apart from each other but still touching, the stools allow people to sit the stipulated 1.5m apart, whilst still feeling a sense of togetherness and connection. The colourful palate evokes a sense of positivity and delight. Stool Dolly is stackable and versatile, easily reconfigurable to suit different event types and interlockable to allow groups to sit next to each other. Stool Dolly is made from ply which is lightweight and durable and the smooth paint finish allows for easy disinfecting.
Stool Dolly's interconnected design creates a genuine sense of intimacy and closeness at a time when people are being forced to stay apart. It innovatively allows people to gather as a community whilst still abiding by physical distancing rules. The whimsical and colourful design brings a light-hearted joy during a time of stress and uncertainty. The significant positive social impact of the Stool Dolly design was very apparent throughout the MPavilion season, giving people a feeling of safety and security and diminishing the sense of social anxiety caused by the pandemic.
A simple yet practical and effective design that serves its function perfectly. A clever and lighthearted solution in a time of unprecedented challenges. The positive social impact of Stool Dolly is certainly evident.