Bottoms Up: 20 Creative & Strange Modern Stool Designs

Stools Main Montage

Welcome. Pull up a chair – or better still, its more portable sibling, the stool. They’re handy things to have around the home, minimalist and clean-lined (and the ideal impromptu laptop table). Functionally, they’re terrific. Design-wise…um, a bit dull. But surely that is understandable: after all, we’re talking about stools here, and what can you do with the design of a stool? Here’s 20 designs that answer that question in surprising ways…

Buitenbeentje Stools

(Images via: Anna Ter Haar and design boom)

Okay, who left the stool near the fire? Anna Ter Har‘s creations drip with color in an almost palpably gooey way, one of their legs comprising of weirdly folded layers of resin. And exactly how much weight will that faux-melted leg take?

N+ew Stool

(Image via: Uncrate)

Another stool that will have to testing its surface with a finger before you sit down, the $2,000 N+ew Stool is a recycler’s dream – a way to actually use last year’s computer technology, by immersing it in a block of resin to form a formidably sturdy seat. The result is an unexpectedly fascinating array of textures – with a game of Hunt The Outmoded Technology literally built into it.

Flowers and Hamburger Stools

(Images via: design boom and Rakuten)

Okay, so the last thing you want when you stand up again is some kind of memento of your sitting experience inscribed on your butt. That’s our worry with the Flower Stool: it looks wonderful, but if one of its models is open at the top like half the examples pictured? Let us just say that they remind us of a cookie cutter – not quite the right vibe for something you sit on. The Japanese Hamburger Stool obviously isn’t a burger, but it looks convincing enough to leave you perpetually expecting twin jets of ketchup and mustard to decorate your pant legs when you shift your weight.

Anna Bullus Stools

(Images via: Anna Bullus)

No, it’s not a Photoshop trick. These stools (called Five, because four make a table) may look like the were put together during an earthquake, but their parallelogram design is deceptively stable. Designers always like to claim they’re challenging your perceptions – but in this case it’s literally true. Put them in the room you’re least likely to enter when drunk.

Cowboy Saddle and Bar Stool Racer

(Images via: Fernando Akasaka and Baron Bob)

Stools, it has to be said, don’t exactly get the blood racing. So it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at this fully-convincing Saddle Stool – that is, until you look elsewhere at the roaring trade in ergonomic saddle seating (here, for example). Not just for the horse-mad, it seems (although they would be doing backflips). One stool where you are fully justified in yelling Yee-Haw is the Bar Stool Racer. It’s not just a gimmick as this compact little beast can do up to 30 mph…which is a little worrying when you look at the number of times the word “bar” crops up on its product page. Drive to the bar, not from it, guys – ‘kay, thanks.

Sheep and Headless Sheep Stool

(Images via: The Wool Room and Atlason)

Erm. A word summing up our initial reaction to the idea of sitting on a pretend sheep. But then we’re adults, and we reckon sitting on the Toy Sheep Stool will reduce howling horrors into wide-eyed little lambs. But how would they feel about the Princess, a stool with just the body of a sheep and “anatomically correct” reinforced legs? A little weirded out, perhaps, and we sympathize.

Beggar and Rojo Stools

(Images via: Trendir and NotCot)

A stool with airs, this one: the Beggar Stool it wants your home to be virtualy dripping with Eastern opulence – and tassels. If ever an item of furniture said “Tassel”, this is it. Be sure to check through those hanging threads now and again to unearth cushions, pets and errant family members. Meanwhile, the Rojo stool wants your home to become…something probably unsuitable for family viewing. Bright red half-bodies with pert derrieres, not to mention other areas – it’s Hellboy meets Boogie Nights.  (Try not to dwell on this scenario too long).

Hiko-Ki and Tooth Stools

(Images via: 83 Design and bonluxat)

What father hasn’t made his child feet like Superman using the flat of his feet? That’s the winning concept behind the stool by designers Koji Yano and Yoshiyuki Kashiwagi, who have fashioned a happy looking stool with an intriguing design (will you be sitting, or will you be permanently perched, ready to spring?). Staying with the theme of imitation is the first of three stools from designer Philippe Starck – for the ultimate bling stool, The Tooth also comes in a gold finish.

Starck and Castiglioni Stools

(Images via: bonluxat).

Um – what are these stools? Seals wearing space helmets? Like creepily transparent versions of The Tooth – and from the same designer – the unsettlingly organic shape inside the Chicos Stool are sure to command your complete attention (perhaps with the fear they might move). Another Starck creation is the  twig-like elegance of  the W.W. Stool – so named because it was created for Wings of Desire director Wim Wenders. If War Of The Worlds is more your thing, there’s the Castiglioni stool – just make sure it’s not gathering data on you.

One Two Stool

(Images via: Yanko Design)

The title of this puzzle of a piece of furniture is One to Three for Five (Seconds). And it’s a stool, a table and a set of low chairs – just not all at the same time. It’s built like a nut, with the stool as the bright red kernal…and apparently you can get into it in just five seconds (hence the name).

One Shot Stool

(Images via: Yanko Design)

Rampantly creative aesthetics are all very well, but what about functionality? We end with a couple of stools that try to do something different as well as look it. Patrick Jouin’s OneShot aims to be a snazzy new update of the traditional old shooting stick – and the name comes from the highly advanced manufacturing process that sculpts the stool whole, in the folded position!

SOS Stool

(Images via: Josh Owen and design boom)

Finally, Josh Owen’s SOS Stool knows you well. Taking your afternoon tea through to a room where there’s no handy table? Not a problem, because the SOS is table and beverage tray combined, at just the right height. (Oh, and it’s a stool as well).