Playing with Design

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Once upon a time … And it is the beginning of a fairy tale, of a design process that lasts five years. Many designs, experiments on materials, prototypes, before arriving at the final result. It is 1959 when the City of Milan commissioned Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper the design of a desk and a chair for children in primary schools.
At first they think of curved plywood, then the sheet steel. But it will be the meeting with Kartell – specialized in the production of plastic objects – to suggest them the ultimate solution. “The material used is polyethylene, and the technological processes are such as to become a constraint and at the same time indicators of solutions for the design. This results in a knockdown chair, stackable and easy to handle: designed as a module that can be composed and join in space, K4999 becomes so also an element of play and building for children. ” *
“Stackable, light, colorful, indestructible, washable, not noisy and cheap and can be shipped without packaging and is dimensioned so that children can build real architecture in which they can put some games or themselves.” **
The chair K4999 earned Kartell a “Compasso d’Oro” and marked the company’s entry into the domestic world. Today Kartell takes up the intuition again and dedicates to children aged 3 to 8 a line of products designed for them, the Kartell Kids. Chairs, lamps and shelves transform the space into a playground, a playroom of which the furniture is an integral part.
The approaches are several. From the games themselves – as the swing Airway by Philippe Starck in transparent polycarbonate, the Discovolante car, tractor Testacalda by Piero Lissoni (methacrylate with metal structure), the Nendo rocking horse H-horse (methacrylate transparent) – to the stools Smile, a funny declination of the emoticons with bases in transparent polycarbonate and seats in thermoplastic techno-polymer.
Kartell Kids. Tavolino "ClipClap" progettato da Ferruccio Laviani (nella foto).

Kartell Kids. Tavolino “ClipClap” progettato da Ferruccio Laviani (nella foto).

Kartell Kids. Small table “Clip Clap” designed by Ferruccio Laviani (pictured).
Conceived for interaction, the table/desk ClipClap is designed by Ferruccio Laviani. Its legs, realized with transparent and colored plastic blocks, allow to adjust the height. Two shelves available, a transparent one and the other with blackboard finish.
Other Kartell ”classics” come up beside the dedicated furnitures: “Lou Lou Ghost” chair by Philippe Starck (in thumbnail version, customizable with writings or photos), “Fl/y” by Ferruccio Laviani, the “Modular Library” by Giulio Polvara, “Bookworm” by Ron Arad, proposed in new colors, flou and pastel, in order to meet the tastes of children and to fit in environments designed for them, whether they are public or private.

About author

Laura Perna

Laura Perna

Dopo la laurea in filosofia conseguita presso l'Università Cattolica di Milano inizia il suo percorso professionale nell'area della comunicazione: uffici- stampa, relazioni pubbliche, editoria. Il suo rapporto con la scrittura è intenso e quotidiano. FourExcellences rappresenta un "punto e a capo", una svolta. È un'idea, poi un progetto che si trasforma in realtà day by day. È una dichiarazione d'indipendenza che condivide con le sue compagne di viaggio. È lo specchio di un mondo effervescente e creativo, la voce di infinite storie.