The new launches of the Danish brand Nofred bring playful functionality to the kids’ room or hallway. The design studio behind the items, Anderssen & Voll, wanted to create kids’ furniture that, in addition to their actual function, would be fun for kids to play with.
DESIGN STUDIO ANDERSSEN & VOLL is a household name for all Scandinavian design enthusiasts. Anderssen & Voll, who have designed furniture, lighting, and other products for numerous well-known brands, have recently ventured into new design territory, as this fall the Danish brand Nofred launched two kids’ designs by the Norwegian duo. We chatted with Torbjørn Anderssen and Espen Voll about the collaboration and everything that needs to be considered when designing for children.
This is the first time you have designed for kids. What made you want to venture into kids’ furniture?
Torbjørn Anderssen: “We both recently became fathers – so all kinds of kids’ stuff has become relevant in our own lives. We wanted to create something we could see being used in our own homes and by our own kids. Having a kid is a way of getting to know yourself more intimately; you start seeing parts of yourself in your child and reminiscing on your childhood.”
Espen Voll: “I really like the way children think and how they have such great attention to detail. Kids see and notice everything. Children also have this strange fascination for order and chaos at the same time. It is interesting to work with these two opposites.”
What makes a design good when it comes to kids’ furniture?
Espen: “The design should be so good that you want to keep it even when the child has grown up. Or maybe the child wants to take it with them when they move out.”
Torbjørn: “Children want to feel like a part of the family. They yearn to know that what is interesting to them is also interesting to us – the adults. They want to feel like they belong. For example, if a mirror is placed in the hallway at the right height for the child, it can help them feel integrated into the family’s daily life and everyday routines. It is really cool to be able to design items that can give the kids a sense of belonging.”
“Kids' furniture should be so well designed that you want to keep it even when the child has grown up.”
How is designing for children different from designing for adults?
Espen: “The dimensions are of course different, and you have to consider ergonomics in a different way. But there are fewer constraints when it comes to these concepts – you can use your imagination more. The approach is much more sculptural than functional.”
How did you end up collaborating with Nofred?
Espen: “It was a sum of several things. The timing was perfect: as we had both recently had kids, our thoughts were already in this kids’ universe. We had had to think about kids’ furniture and what we wanted to buy for our kids. We also really like Nofred as a brand, their ideas and design philosophy.”
Torbjørn: “We find it motivating to work with partners that represent different angles of the design world. It was very interesting for us to work with Nofred, partly because it’s so different from what we usually do. We took it as an opportunity to create more playful designs; for example, a wall hook that resembles a creature or a flower but still has a function – that is just fun!”
“It was very interesting for us to work with Nofred, partly because it’s so different from what we usually do. We took it as an opportunity to create more playful designs.”
Tell us a bit more about your designs for Nofred.
Torbjørn: “Our first two pieces for Nofred are the Portal mirror and the Wall Bug wall hook. Children seek patterns and repetition, they look for symmetry. They like objects that spark their imagination. For a kid, our mirror could turn into a stage or a house; the wall hook can be a flower bud or an insect.”
Espen: “Both designs have a clear function, but depending on the child, they can be used in different ways. Some might use them for hanging jewelry and others for their favorite toys. It will be very interesting to see how children interact and play with the objects.”
Do you have any fond memories of specific toys or other designs from your childhood?
Espen: “My childhood was pretty much spent outside, but I do remember playing with Meccano, a construction toy in metal. I remember liking the shiny metal and the endless possibilities to play and create objects. Regarding furniture, my dad built everything in our home.”
Torbjørn: “It was the same with my father, he made our stereo furniture and even a sofa. My favorite item from my childhood home was an old treasure chest full of old coins from different parts of the world, given to me by my grandfather. And my favorite activity was counting the money!”
Edit: Emmi Ratilainen Images and video: Nofred