The essentials: 20 of the best umbrella stands

Umbrella stands are an often poorly considered furnishing accessory. However, they continue to represent a fertile breeding ground for astute design intuitions. Here is our selection of the 20 umbrella stands that made the history of design.

The umbrella stand is a fairly marginal object, which we easily do without when it is not available, or which we forget completely when the arrival of fine weather puts an end to rainy days.

And yet, this moderately sized container not only holds the umbrella, one of the oldest and most significant objects in human history – a symbol of the elite, a sacred object for many civilizations, a recurring element in the work of many artists, and at the same time something democratic and truly "for everyone" – but gladly lends itself to the constant exercises of reinvention carried out by designers, who continue to change its appearance following the evolution of materials, tastes and technologies. Because if the umbrella stand has become a serial object in the form of curved wood, it is with the advent of plastic materials that it has invaded houses and offices. It has entered many spaces with pop, fun, and creative shapes, while it used more "moderate" registers for the contract sector.

Its constant reinterpretations not only involve the evolution of styles through the years, but also clever innovations that could be defined as linguistic. Being a container by nature, it amuses us when it ceases to present itself as a welcoming form, presenting us the image of an umbrella suspended in the void. Again, it amazes us when it cannot free itself from copying the object it contains, re-proposing its silhouette or deliberately vanishind into a shielded game of handles, rods and hemispheres. Perhaps, more than other objects, this shy furnishing accessory has been able to renew itself in recent years in a slightly more daring way, without being afraid of taking on new and unexpected functions. After years of pure geometric shapes, the umbrella stand has proven to be capable of making us smile, while still remaining discreet.

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