MPavilion release 2020 physical distancing furniture

In collaboration with Melbourne Fringe’s Fringe Furniture program, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation today released the design for the MPavilion 2020 stool, by local interior designer and architect Holly Board in partnership with Peter Grove, both of BoardGrove Architects. The commission – titled STOOL DOLLY – is part of MPavilion’s response to a pandemic year with greater investment in local artists and designers, while also being an extension of the Fringe Gender Equality Initiative, supported by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. From December until the end of the MPavilion 2020 season, the stool will be used across multiple physical locations in and around Melbourne.

Responding to the necessity of ‘physical distancing’ in this time of pandemic, Stool Dolly considers how individuals can informally create separation through spatial means. Reminiscent of children’s paper dolls – where folded paper is cut into a simple human form, before becoming a train of people connected by their stretched-out arms – each plywood Stool Dolly chair can be positioned in two states: at ‘arm’s length’ (1.5 metres), or interlocked. When used at MPavilion events, the resulting configuration allows its users to be safely apart, together.

In the bid to secure the brief for MPavilion 2020’s stool commission, other highly regarded submissions included designs by Apple Huang, Caroline Scales, Keiran Meegan and Rickie-Lee Robbie of Idle Hands, Jordan Fleming, Kathleen Prentice, and Phoebe Richardson.

Naomi Milgrom AC, founder of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, said: “MPavilion is delighted to work with such an impressive, emerging furniture design couple Holly Board and Peter Grove. Chosen from a remarkable collection of applications from young creatives, the Stool Dolly design blends form with a heightened sensitivity to the practical demands of this unique time in history. For MPavilion and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, supporting local design and manufacturing now is more important than ever before.”

Simon Abrahams, creative director and CEO of Melbourne’s Fringe, said: “Melbourne Fringe is so proud of Holly Board and Peter Grove’s innovative design, and we’re thrilled to see our Gender Equality Initiative in real action. When we are allowed to gather again, there’s nowhere I’d rather be doing it than at MPavilion, sitting on a new commissioned piece from an exciting Melbourne Fringe designer.”

Established as an experimental playground, Fringe Furniture is a standout exhibition of emerging and market-ready design which provides a continuing platform for artists and designers to showcase their work. The MPavilion 2020 stool commission comes as part of an extension of the Fringe’s Gender Equality Initiative and part of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s three-year funding, addressing gender inequity in the design industry. Since 2018, this funding has supported a subsidy in Fringe Furniture registration fees for female and non-binary designers, equal to the gender pay gap.

The MPavilion 2020 stool designed by Holly Board and Peter Grove joins the ongoing furniture series commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation each year for MPavilion. Previous furniture pieces include designs by Chris Connell of Chris Connell Design (2019), Carme Pinós of Estudio Carme Pinós (2018), OMA (2017), local artisans in India in collaboration with Studio Mumbai (2016), and Sean Godsell of Sean Godsell Architects (2014).

In 2020, MPavilion aims to stimulate artistic engagement with a greater investment in artists, designers and performers. Its amplified new program—launching Thursday 12 November 2020, and running until Monday 5 April 2021—will occur entirely online in November, and then both online and in multiple physical locations from December onwards. Australia’s leading architecture and design event, the season comprises over 400 free events—including talks, workshops, performances, kid-friendly activities, and community projects and installations.

MPavilion is supported by principal partners City of Melbourne, the State Government of Victoria through Creative Victoria, and RACV.

MPavilion will open free to the public from 12 November 2020 to 6 April 2021.

For MPavilion’s COVID-19 Safe Plan, please visit

For further information including program times, please visit

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