3. Microplaces & modular spaces
Over the past decade, the home has become a more open-plan space offering greater ‘democracy’ for all family members. Everyone gathers in one large space rather than individuals using separate rooms for varying activities. This means kitchens are more closely linked to eating areas, eating areas to playing areas, playing areas to studying areas…
“Including children creates a strong family unit and instils children with a sense of place and belonging,” says Jon from Bloom Baby. “However, many children’s products were previously isolating in that they did not coexist well in the family environment. We had to ask ourselves, how do children and parents interact with each other?” So Bloom came up with the idea for their very sleek Coco Lounger – perfect in a contemporary home – and the Fresco Loft high chair, which can be raised to kitchen counter height.
Designers have also come up with solutions that offer personal nooks, niches and refuges for children – for a nap, to play games, to avoid getting underfoot – within larger family spaces. “Places have lost their categories; the inclusion of flexible modular furniture allows movement between spaces and activities,” says Matthew Giaretta from Feelgood Designs. “Microplaces – small places within spaces (such as our Atoll) – are designed to be sociable as well as fun. Products should move away from the limitations of age; they need to be open to different possibilities, not limited or prescriptive. This requires more thought, time and consideration – but all good design requires that.”