The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Decorative Arts & Design Department has announced it has acquired Umbra’s Balloona Stool for the Museum’s permanent design collection.

Natalie Kruch, designer of the Balloona Stool and a Canadian native born in 1985 in Edmonton, Alberta, was a third year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, when she created a version of the stool as part of a class assignment. “I have an affinity for bright colors and was researching the use, re-use, and appreciation of everyday objects,” explains Kruch. She ultimately completed the Balloona independently the summer before graduating. Umbra saw her prototype at the February 2007 Toronto Interior Design Show, where it was being exhibited in the University of Alberta booth.

“Umbra is constantly searching and supporting emerging young talent,” Matt Carr, Umbra’s Director of Design, noted. “When we spotted Natalie’s labor of love at the Toronto IDS, we knew the Balloona Stool could be a great addition to our U+ collection. We released the stool in New York at the 2008 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF )with great results. With its playful personality and punch of color, the Balloona stool remains one of the most important pieces in Umbra’s U+ collection.”

Merging craft with modern aesthetics, Kruch uses 500 pink, orange, yellow, red, green and dark purple balloons that are wrapped, twisted and tied by hand to a solid wood 18″ high frame with a 14″ square seat to create a stool that thoroughly reflects Umbra’s commitment to innovative and imaginative design.

“The Balloona Stool is a joyously original object,” commented Kathryn Hiesinger, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, “and we are delighted that it has become part of the Museum’s permanent Design Collection.”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States, showcasing more than 2,000 years of exceptional human creativity in masterpieces of painting, sculpture, works on paper, decorative arts and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. An exciting addition is the newly renovated and expanded Perelman Building, which opened its doors in September 2007 with five new exhibition spaces, a soaring skylit galleria, and a café overlooking a landscaped terrace. The Museum offers a wide variety of enriching activities, including programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.