At last year's Salone del Mobile, Italian stalwarts Kartell travelled back in time to pay tribute one of the forefathers of Italian design, Ettore Sottsass. For 2016, they are taking it back again, but this time in scale and age with the launch of an inaugural kids collection.
This isn't the first time the Italian brand has toyed with the concept of children’s furniture. The first entirely plastic Kartell '4999' chair by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper – created back in 1964 – was intended for kids, while 'Sistema Scuola' by Centrokappa also tapped into this smaller world. Over 50 years later, the Milanese brand is revisiting the idea with these 'toys for living' that nod to the fun aesthetics of Kartell’s lively collections.
The company chose from their star-studded list of international designers for this first haul of whimsical plastic silhouettes, all in pastel and pop hues. In keeping with simplisitic styles, Japanese designer Nendo created a transparent curvaceous rocking horse alongside 'smile' stools; Philippe Starck presents a streamlined 'Airway' swing; Piero Lissoni provides a toy car and tractor; and Ferruccio Laviani, a vibrant games table.
‘As well as being functional, our products are intrinsically playful, fun and engaging’ says Claudio Luti, president of Kartell. The new kids line allowed the designers to experiment in an area that they perhaps have not before, engaging with a younger audience. Where Nendo approached his stools with the idea of the emotion of a smile, creating a face in the imprint of the seat, Laviani got into the youthful mindset for his building game, which he describes as 'trying to approach their world more than ours'.
In full celebration of the launch, the brand is also bringing back its loved icons in a new child friendly palette, as seen in Ron Arad's 'Bookworm' and Giulio Polvara's modular bookcase. They are also providing a customisation service, adding names and drawings to the 'Lou Lou Ghost' or 'FL/Y' lamp – a little added interactive design fun for smaller people to enjoy.