Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Donald M. Rattner.
In 1972, Scandinavian designer named Peter Opsvik took it on himself to revolutionize the design of infant high chairs after watching his son’s struggles with table eating. The result was the Tripp Trapp Convertible High Chair.
Opsvik’s thoughtful response to the challenges of early eating stages was to more fully engage the child with loved ones by making it possible to slide the chair right up to the table without an intervening tray. Presciently, he also designed the chair to accommodate growth by making its various parts adjustable, thus anticipating today’s cradle-to-college design philosophy and its associated environmentalism.
Winner of multiple awards, the Tripp Chair was selected as the signature piece at MoMA’s 2012 exhibition “Century of the Child”. Check out the wonderful video produced by the museum. Purchase here.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Donald M. Rattner.
GRO furniture is a remarkable solution to a fact of life: very little about a child stays the same for long. As most parents can attest, that can make things pretty expensive pretty fast. GRO’s genius is to turn this reality to advantage by designing a piece of children’s furniture that will change as the child changes – and change back when it’s time to pass it on to the next generation or sibling. In between it can break down and be stored flat-packed for space saving.
Things start, naturally, with the crib. As the child grows the crib will convert to a toddler bed, then to a daybed, next to a play table, and finally to a desk – all using simple conversion kits. This makes GRO furniture a potentially multi-generational cradle-to-college design solution.
GRO was designed by two architects, a fact reflected in its quality of construction and easy, hardware- and fastener-free assembly. Made in the USA.
The Netherlander Dirk Ploos van Amstel designed this clever hybrid between a baby crib and a rocking chair, called Moep. Both pieces are morphed into a singular rocking unit, allowing a parent to accommodate the child with ease. “MOEP symbolizes the strong bond between parents and their new-born,” – says the designer. When the little one overgrows the crib – the side unit changes into a magazine rack, so Moep gets a new life as an adult piece of furniture. I like the laconic shape and neutral design of the piece – cute enough for the baby and quite elegant for everyone else.
This product makes so much sense – it’s hard to believe no one came up with it earlier. Culla Belly by Manuela Busetti is a baby bassinet that can serve as a regular crib during a day, and as an attachement to a grownup bed at night. One side of the bassinet can be opened via two zips to allow the fall of the barrier between the child and the mother, creating a single space in which the mother can move easily in case the little one needs her. The wooden attachement, in which the baby crib rests, is secured under the bed’s mattress. The weight of the mattress and of the mother guarantee the stability of the structure.
No childhood is complete without a rocking horse, and every good parent knows it. However, such item requires space and can pose a challenge if your place is tiny. Luckily, Danish designer Michael Knapp had thought of this. His RockingHorse collapses into the size of a standard folding chair. So, when the rocking fun is over, the piece can be hung on or leaned to a wall and save space. I also like the minimalist aesthetic of the RockingHorse. Made of thin wooden pieces, it looks simple and graphically stunning in both unfolded or collapsed forms.
The Insekt kids desk by the Dutch designer label Buisjes En Beugels +++ is a smaller version of the grownup item by the same name. Both pieces are made from MPLX birch, contain lots of storage space, and come in a variety of tender age appropriate colors. And, as the era of technology dictates, Insekt is equipped with cable storage as well (which nowadays is relevant for all users, even the little ones). The desk is flat packed and can be easily assembled at home.
Sprout is a modular tool-less furniture collection some of you might remember by this lovely Kickstarter video. This line is designed to be simple: simple to make and simple to use. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble, making moving and storage easy. No tools or hardware are required, components are interchangeable, allowing you to change the color, style, or even functionality. And with the eco-friendly and virtually waste-less manufacturing process, this furniture is kind to the environment too. As the company’s creator Clark Davis tells me, Sprout has recently rebranded and went in production. Now, that’s a success story I’m really happy to hear!
The items of this kind are great fun. But when your children grow up, they often become a nuisance – too bulky to store, and too emotionally memorable to dispose of. As the result, they create clutter. This vehicle, Japanese designer Masahiro Minami made for his son, is employed to fight clutter instead of creating it. Minami proposed a simple solution that integrated a pull-out drawer attached to a tail-like rope so that the vehicle could also be used for storage. Beautiful!
This lovely playroom item was designed by Eric Pfeiffer for Offi. The table has a durable chalkboard top, which allows kids to express their artistic spirit. And when our little artists are done with their masterpieces – their supplies can be stored in a bowl in the center. Thus, the piece promotes creativity, sharing and working together, and also being tidy after the playtime is over. The table can be purchased at designstory.com.
Koo is a combination of a baby bassinet and a rocking chair. The product is the latest creation of Lunar studio. It is designed to free young parents from buying too many items (which is the usual trap when the new baby is born). This beautiful and ergonomically correct bassinet turns into a chair by flipping down the seat. And when the baby overgrows this piece of furniture, it can be permanently upcycled to a stylish rocker. Clever and eco-conscious idea.