The large art museums around the globe are replete with meaning. They safeguard and preserve the cultural heritage of mankind, declare the exhibited objects as sacred and, in so doing, have turned into sanctuaries themselves, places of contemplation where visitors can encounter and meditate on the creations of the greatest masters in order to learn about their history and the history of mankind. Yet the average length of time spent by the average museum visitor on looking at an average piece of art is as short as eleven seconds. This is understandable in light of the visual bombardment that visitors are confronted with at a museum. In addition, many exhibitions almost seem to encourage people to rush through instead of inviting them to linger. Moving around slowly, stopping, watching and reading or listening attentively is quite exhausting after a while. And while many museums offer a few benches to sit down, they are often located in the middle of well-frequented spaces in front of artworks that count among the most popular or which the curators consider key pieces of an exhibition.
However, a museum is also a place of contemplation, muse and sensuality. Many visitors do not simply want to consume art, but rather spend time with single pieces picked out according to purely individual criteria. They want to view them at leisure and bask in their visual effect. However, such an encounter and engagement with single exhibits is only possible when visitors can also relax physically, undistracted by tired or even aching legs and joints. Precisely this need prompted the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, twenty years ago to commission the design of a mobile seat that would allow visitors to take a more active role in shaping their visit to and experience of the museum. The result was the “Stockholm II” folding stool for museums: The simple stool is easy to fold away, robust, uncomplicated to handle and weighs only a little over 1.5 kg. When folded away, Stockholm II can be used as a standing-support that is easy to carry from one piece of art to the next. The armrests then act as a carrying handle. When folded open, the stool provides a comfortable seat. Doing without a backrest, it also promotes an upright sitting position conducive to quietude so that visitors can take more than eleven seconds of time to absorb a piece of art. Today, Stockholm II can be found in more than a thousand museums worldwide, offering museum visitors the possibility to dwell and linger at their own pace and get the most out of their museum visits.
Source: Every Product Tells a Story (Red Dot Edition 2014)
Posted on 03.02.2017