Why do you design products for children?
When I was little me and my sister played pirates on a shipwreck every time our mother mopped the kitchen floor. When she put all the kitchen chairs upside-down on the table for easier access with the mop a pirate ship appeared in the middle of the floor. The otherwise ordinary seats we sat and ate on now created a new room that shouted “Ship ahoy!”.
Children have another way of interacting with their surroundings and artifacts which I find interesting to work with. I’ve come across so many stories told by adults about their childhood furniture and the play in the in-between spaces around them. What strikes me is that it often comes down to what the child experienced as emotional about the furniture. Another important aspect seems to be that the child likes to feel that it’s my furniture, my very own. I want to do sustainable children’s products that live for a long time.
Can you tell us something about the manufacturing process for your play furniture Uniphant?
The Uniphant is made of birch plywood and kept raw in it’s expression. It’s only treated with oil and a painted ear in a non-toxic paint. Birch plywood is available at an affordable price in Sweden, it’s also durable which fits a children’s furniture. The Uniphant is at it’s prototype stage and is manufactured at a small carpentry in the deep woods of Småland, south of Sweden.
Good design for kids – what does that mean for you?
Good design for kids is the same as just “good design”. The only difference is that it should fit the childs needs instead of the adults.
Do you have children of your own? If so, how do they respond to your “the uniphant”?
I have a daugther who is 1 1/2 years old. She has The Uniphant in her room, it’s a popular piece for her and her friends. A lot of climbing and opening doors is going on around it. She stores all of her books in it and some other things she puts in and out of the cabinets. The Uniphant’s box is actually always taken out so that she can climb and sit (and sometimes stand) in the open space that appears. The actual box is in another part of the room storing everything from blocks, toy animals and balls.
If you look into a crystal ball and predict your future as a designer: what children’s product would you like to design next?
I’ve already started on another familymember to The Uniphant. I hope the Uniphant will have a large family in the future.