Some of the world’s most iconic designer furniture is distinctly cool comfort for today’s children. So how has this modern design evolution come about?
This reveals a great deal about both the shift in production methods, as well as the market for these products. These days, our demand for well-designed children’s products has become so great that successful designers have started creating children’s versions of their iconic pieces. Philippe Starck’s Louis Ghost Chair is now available in a scaled-down version for children, known as the Lou Lou. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair was released as a child’s version in 2007 by Knoll International. And Gerrit Rietveld’s descendents formed Rietveld by Rietveld, a company that produces a child’s version of his 1934 Crate Chair.
There were some precursors of this move for stylish children’s design in the Seventies. This was the decade when Terence Conran was transforming kitchens and living spaces across the UK with his “plain, simple, useful” designs. And, through his growing chain of Habitat stores, Conran soon made a more commercial breakthrough with modern furnishings for children. And it was in 1972 that Stokke, the family-owned Norwegian furniture company that had been running since 1932, introduced the Tripp Trapp Chair designed by Peter Opsvik. The intriguing and adaptable zigzag design quietly gained ground among design aficionados outside Scandinavia until, today, it is now a style favourite with design-savvy parents around the world. Following on from this success, the company decided to devote itself exclusively to children’s furniture in 2006. “We wanted to focus on one thing and do it very well,” says Marianne Strand, Marketing Director for Stokke.
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