(not a) STOOL

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“A visceral gesture, an act of anarchy against the current design system where the production is out of control. We have lost the sense of pure design to embrace a consumerist attitude, in which doing more is the first rule. We have too much, and we desire even more. The role of a designer is lost. Names, brands, prices go over the objects themselves. There is no meaning behind materials. Do we really need another stool?”


On February 7th 2024, the Penumbra gallery has opened its doors for the first time with the inaugural exhibition “Sobremesa” celebrating local and international talents invited to share their visions and showcase their experiments with the given material, the lava stone, so linked to the craft tradition of Mexico. The concept of the exposition is inspired by the Mexican culture of dinners and long conversations afterward. “Una sobremesa de confidencias” – an after-lunch chat of shared secrets where architects, designers, and artists unlock the secrets of their practices.


(not a) STOOL is the title of the stool with a conceptual soul, an “act of anarchy” that embodies the author’s spirit of intellectual militancy regarding the challenges of art and design, that can go side by side, often blending together. The research of hybridizing the idea of function (the prerogative of design) with the symbolic dimension (the prerogative of art) to reflect on the potential of both. 


The theme of the exhibition adds another degree of complexity: the lava stone. A primordial material, generated by a powerful Nature. Design, art, and expressive material represent the elements of the conceptual short-circuiting from which this project comes to life.(not a) STOOL is ideally a stool but it avoids the common sense of its function. It acts on the material consistency and exhibits a shape that alludes to different semantic worlds, maybe closer to dream and metaphor.


(not a) STOOL is a push to think about the meaning (and the need) of producing objects that have already saturated the world. Now that everything has become a form of merchandise (including art) and the world of design has forgotten the sense of utopia, what remains to be done? A critical act. Through a paradox, (not a) STOOL becomes an object of ethical militancy in favor of the pleasure (and value) of being visionary designers again.


Company: Penumbra Gallery

Year: 2024

Design: Francesco Meneghello

Photo: Alejandro Ramírez Orozco