A number of designers are today recognising the benefit of designing products and furniture that last longer, that actually grow with the child.
From high chair to... well, a chair. This simple (yet bold) design by Maartje Steenkamp for Droog comes with printed "notches" indicating each stage of the chair. So when you feel the time is right, you can saw off what is not needed any more.
Another "growing" chair is the Tripp Trapp. Designed originally by Norwegian furniture designer Peter Opsvik in 1972, Peter noticed that his son Tor had no chair that could position him at the correct height at the family dinner table and enable him to participate with the rest of the family.
While the Tripp Trapp concept was not at first popular, it has now sold more than 6 million chairs. Showing that the concept of adaptable design is now being slowly recognised.
The design's seat and footrest may be adjusted in both height and depth, thus it is possible to adapt the chair to the child as he or she grows. Additionally, the chair's design enables the child to safely climb up and into the chair all by themselves.
Made from beechwood, the chair now comes in a variety of rich colour varnishes.
Below, Swedish architect and designer Mia Cullen has produced this range of benches / stools for Orkester with adjustable seats, taking inspiration from traditional wooden peg furniture and piano stools.
The adjustable seats which were first designed for schools and nurseries, allow adult and child to comfortably sit side by side and are now used in waiting rooms, entrances and public spaces.
From chairs, benches to... beds. Also from Norwegian company Stokke is the ingenious Stokke Sleepi.
The Stokke Sleepi is one clever cot slash bed, which can be used from a child's birth to 10 years of age. Made from beautifully crafted solid beech wood, additional parts mean that the cot can grow as your child grows. It also looks pretty funky too.
These tables features adjustable legs, a simple yet oh so clever idea.
Consisting of a solid wood body, four coloured legs and rubber rings, the CASPAR table below designed by Martin Pabis and Thomas Maitz for Perludi allows the table to grow vertically with the child.
Additionally, the table may be easily dismantled and hold it's legs inside the tray for simple storage.
Another growing table is one from German company Pure Position, which grows with the child in four stages. Each stage introducing a section of leg. The table also includes a number of handy boxes for pens and notes - for work and play!
And from one of our own, is the New Zealand designed Wishbone Bike.
The Wishbone was born when Industrial Designer Richard built a bike for his son Noah to keep up with him on their daily walks. The bike's design has no pedals, which teaches the child balance and co-ordination.
Starting as a three-wheeled ride-on toy for children who are just walking to a two-wheeled bike, the frame can then be flipped and the seat adjusted to accommodate children up to the age of five.
These clever designers show you need not fork out for a new piece of designer furniture every time your child grows a few inches! Rather, designing with the future in mind results in furniture that grows, adapts and lasts (hopefully) for many generations.
Post by Jess Kayser, Auckland. See her blog The Architecture of Early Childhood.