Kids’ chairs can be roughly divided into two categories; they are either scaled-down versions of adults’ chairs, or chairs specifically designed for children. As with adults’ chairs, a wide choice of materials is available, from natural wood and plywood to modern materials such as steel and plastic, but with more emphasis on durability and a bright, colourful finish.
Some of the classics available in children’s sizes are Mart Stam’s 1931 ‘S 43 K’ cantilevered chair, produced by Thonet, complete with a pastel-coloured seat and backrest; the Vitra-manufactured 1959 ‘Panton Junior’, Verner Panton’s famous, one-piece moulded plastic chair; as well as TON’s ‘Petit Chair’, a scaled-down version of Michael Thonet’s ‘214’, the world’s first mass-produced chair, introduced in 1859.
But it’s not only the design classics that are scaled down. Contemporary designers still make miniaturised versions of their designs catering to children. Some recent examples are the ‘Kenno S Cardboard chair’ designed by Heikki Ruoho for Showroom Finland Oy, launched in 2012, and the 2013 ‘Typographia Kids’ range by TABISSO, whose steel legs and plywood seat complement the grown-up and upholstered ‘Typographia Chair’ range.
The choice from chairs designed specifically for kids is just as varied. It ranges from Alvar Aalto’s friendly ‘Children’s Chair N65’ to newer, more playful designs, such as the ‘Chair Creatures’ range, designed by Aldis Circenis for Riga Chair; and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s ‘Agatha’ range for Amat-3, both of which employ whimsical designs on the chairs’ backrest. Another novel, yet playful, design is Javier Mariscal’s ‘Julian’ for Magis, which doubles as a chair or a piece of animal-shaped play furniture when the child turns around.
Practical concerns are addressed in Andreas Janson’s ‘Emily chair’ and ‘Child Complements - Baby Chair’ manufactured by LAGRAMA; both feature a small storage space underneath the seat. With Maartje Steenkamp’s ‘Highchair’ for Droog, the tall legs can be sawn off over time as the child grows up, expanding its useful lifespan.