designers in residence 2019 cosmic

Ultima Thule by Stiliyana Minkovska

Step inside an alternative birthing suite, designed by architect and designer Stiliyana Minkovska.

Designers in Residence Showcase

Explore the work of this year's residents responding to the theme Cosmic.

What to expect

Having found her own maternity ward experience to be hostile and too clinical, Stilyana became inspired by alternative birthing methods, such as hypnobirthing and waterbirths.

Her project, Ultima Thule, includes a collection of three chairs to support the stages of childbirth, each presented within a sanctuary-like environment:

  • The ‘Labour Silla’ allows women to climb, squat and lean during the labour

  • the ‘Parturition Stool’ encourages a midwife or chosen partner to sit behind as support

  • the ‘Solace Chaise’ acts as an inclusive space for the mother to recover in privacy following birth, caesarean, miscarriage or abortion

Rethink the traditional maternity ward, take a seat on all three chairs, and relax among soft lighting and a meditative soundtrack designed to reflect a baby’s experience in the womb.


Q&A - Stiliyana Minkovska

To mark International Women's Day, the Design Museum caught up with one of this year's designer in residence, Stiliyana Minkovska, the architect behind Ultima Thule.