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Designer Chairs for Pint-Sized People

The appeal of a pint-sized designer chair

Posted: 17 April 2010
by Catherine O’Dolan

Sheila Rock

Many great modern designers have turned their talents to chairs, and still more are turning their designs into child-size versions, from the boudoir chic of the Lou Lou Ghost chair by Philippe Starck to the 20th-century Modern style of the Eames Children’s Chair. “There are some great designs in children’s chairs for lounging and playing,” says Phyllis Richardson, author of Designed For Kids.

“The Trioli chair by Eero Aarnio for Magis and the Min.Chair by Chul Min Kang are both wonderful pieces because children can do what they always do with furniture, which is turn them into a train, a bus or a pirate ship. The colourful, friendly curves mean that these chairs encourage imaginative play; children can be inspired but still have room to dream.”

Designers also work hard to combine good looks with the all-important functionality: think of it as an investment in a piece that will become a family heirloom, with the added romance of being handed down through the generations. This is an idea that strikes a chord with Marie Richard, founder of Little Fashion Gallery, who still has the little red rattan chair she loved as a child. “That is the beauty of lacquered rattan,” says Marie. “It can last forever. This is the reason why we added La Maison de Léna products, including their best-selling Cabane rattan chair, to our interiors offering. It has a Seventies look that I love and has the added advantage of being very light, so it’s easy for a child to carry.” So does Marie’s four-year-old son, Paul, have his own favourite chair? “He has a vintage Seventies Casalino chair,” says Marie. “I love all things vintage, so I’m passing on my appreciation.”

Choosing the perfect chair is a matter of personal taste – and your home decor – but some chairs particularly stand out. “The Eames Children’s Chair is such an established icon that it is hard not to hold  it up as an example, because it represents the first introduction of a sophisticated design sensibility to children,” says Richardson. “Like all great designs for children, it defies the assumption that children’s furniture has to be naff to be appealing to them. It’s one of those images that makes the hearts of design-conscious parents leap with joy.” 

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