The Step Stool

Stool by Jade Milne HND Furniture Design Student


The Step Stool.

I designed this stool to meet a brief given to the class: Design a three legged stool, but no two of the legs can be the same. Another caveat was that each leg had to be “shaped” in some way. As someone who loves straight lines and angles and symmetry, this was a real challenge for me.

I knew almost instantly that I didn’t want to go down the route of making a stool with three completely unrelated legs, I definitely wanted to make something with a coherent aesthetic, not merely fulfill the brief and tick the boxes.

Research was a vital stage for me here. I looked at a huge range of stools and beyond, tables and chairs too, including furniture made specifically for children, which is an area that interests me but I rarely see anything I like in it. I didn’t limit my research to three-legged objects, as I didn’t want my design to look immediately asymmetrical or ‘wonky.’ I became very interested in the idea of having moving parts, and especially so in objects which served multiple purposes. As someone who doesn’t own a stool, and would rather sit in a chair, I thought a lot about who uses them, and what purpose they really serve. I spent a long time researching and sketching, dissecting designs to figure out exactly what it was that I liked and disliked about certain pieces. I liked modern curves. I disliked the theatrical, cartoonist designs of children’s furniture. I liked things that were simple.

Eventually I settled on the idea of a stool for children to use, that doubles as a sort of step ladder. As much as we, as adults, like to put things away on shelves, children like to take things down again! Toys, and books are tidied away, often out of reach. I think there’s something nice for a child to be able to get something down themselves. To reach the highest shelf means to be a grown up!

The manufacture of the Step Stool was a fun process. In the end I loved the curves which I so often shy away from. I love the way you can follow the line of the joint, stepping up and down and up again across the curve. I love the oak especially, it doesn’t throw up too many surprises!

Oak finished with Danish oil.


Photos by Hazel Terry


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