Museum Ulm
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Exhibition Banner svgThe Ulm Stool: Idea ─ Icon ─ Idol
October 8, 2021—February 27, 2022

The Ulm Stool: Idea ─ Icon ─ Idol: HfG-Archiv, Hochsträss 8, 89081 Ulm

With the exhibition “The Ulm Stool: Idea – Icon – Idol“, the HfG-Archiv Ulm places one of the most famous designs created at the Ulm School of Design (HfG) at the center of an analytical presentation for the first time. By means of a multifaceted look at the different conditions that made the “Ulm Stool” possible, not only a design classic becomes understandable, but beyond that, an original model of historiography is presented.

Thus, the “idea” shows the “Ulm Stool” in a broad field of tension of its origin and interprets it as a product of different factors: Max Bill, Hans Gugelot and Paul Hildinger are illuminated as originators of the “Ulm Stool” as well as innovative technologies that were used in the production of the “Ulm Stool” and the economic situation of the Ulm School of Design which had to cope with a permanent underfunding and made functionality the essential feature of the “Ulm Stool“.

As an “icon“, the “Ulm Stool” is presented as a classic of design history and staged as part of its respective canon. Thus, stools are also shown that are either contemporary variants or (faulty) copies or variations or successors of the “Ulm Stool“, all of which can be more or less directly related to the same and raise the question of what actually constitutes the “Ulm Stool” at its core.

Following the documentation of historical uses, an “Open Call” via the platform encourages the public to photographically communicate the “Ulm Stool” as an “idol” with its current use and to become a part of the exhibition.



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