Momoll: Modern wooden toys from Switzerland
June 23, 2008, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Toys and games | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I will end today’s focus on modern wooden toys with a peek at Swiss company Momoll’s toys. Their products really have a minimalistic edge to them, quite undertandable, when considering that Momoll’s intention for the Playtower Thing 3 was to design a multifunctional playhouse whose design would be appealing to boys and girls alike! But Momoll also produces other beautiful items as well, such as the Playtower Ding 4, doll house furniture, the Lili play kitchen or the RayRay doll house, which can be collapsed when not in use, and is hence especially suitable for small apartments, where space is scarce.

Both playtowers have a simple structure that can be assembled and disassembled easily and whose modular construction opens up the possibilty to extend the playsphere by adding an (almost) infinite number of additional floors. Additionally, both sets have a designer facade of either colored plexiglas or silk-screened birch plywood sliding walls. The minimalistic design opens up a child’s creation, because it is not limited to one environment: The playtowers can convert themselves into car parks, hospitals, skysrapers… whatever the kids imagine them to be.

Available either directly at Momoll, at US shop Spunky Sprout (RayRay doll house $352.00, Lili play kitchen $440.00) or UK shop Little Fashion Gallery (RayRay doll house £160.50, Lili kitchen £165.00, plexiglas playtower £157.00).
Yes, the prices are a bit higher than standard doll houses and wooden toys, but then you have a true multi-purpose designer toy with superb looks and great functionality, which is designed, developed and produced by hand, all in Switzerland, a country known for its quality craftsmanship!

More of Playsam’s modern classics: from rocking toys to jetliners

It’s been a while now since I’ve introduced Playsam’s Streamliner and Xtreamliner cars on SunnyKidstyle, so now it’s definitely time to come back to this fabulous Swedish company and tell you, which other great products they have in store, because all of them share a magnificent, modern and simple design.

Just take a look at their Airliner and Jetliner series, just as beautifully designed as the Streamliner, only that this time, the outcome is not a little toy car, but an airplane. For those kids who like it even faster, they have a Formula 1 and an oldtimer racer in their collection, while budding little sailors will surely enjoy the beautiful sailboats.

And the good news don’t finish there quite yet, because Playsam has just the perfectly designed item for each family member: Your littlest ones will surely enjoy the Swedes’ interesting twist to rocking toys with this rocking rabbit, or this beautiful Saab ride-on, while teenagers or adults might be more tempted by these gorgeous JoJos,pens and key chains.

Design buffs on the other hand will surely fall for their incredible Playtown and Saab 001 concept car: Not that all of Playsam’s items aren’t masterpieces of design already, but especially these last two products are modern art in perfection and would make the perfect sculpture to display in your living room! The polished wooden pieces of the Playtown represent the four most characteristic sights of Sweden’s capital Copenhagen, i.e. The City Hall, Kaknaes Tower, The Globe and The Royal Castle. The superb quality of this set shows in the details: The City Hall’s crown is made of silver and palted with 23 carat gold! On the other hand the Saab 001 model is inspired by Sixten Saxon’s prototype of the Saab Concept Car 92001, which did not look like a normal car, but was futuristic and aerodynamic design in perfection. The modern design of this wooden toy, or rather piece of art, brings the charm of the origninal Saab home with its wonderful sophisticated design. Check them out yourself:

While researching Playsam’s products, I found even more interesting things: In 2006 Fitzsu Society, a Los Angeles based store for modern design home accessories, had gathered a group of designers from around the world to create their own interpretation of Playsam’s cars. While the most beautiful products are of course sold by now, I could still find a few beautiful ones available:

Among others, the whole collection of Playsam products can be bought at US shop UnicaHome except for for the playtown, or at UK shop Juuka . The Fitzsu designer GP cars can be bought at Fitzsu .

Nostalgic alphabet poster by Binth

My last alphabet pick comes from design studio Binth. It’s alphabet poster is inspired by mid-century Danish animal toys and will look great in any modern nursery with its simple design and muted colors. What makes this artwork so great is that even though the vintage toy designs are very much suited for little children, it is not childish and in fact so classy and modern at the same time, that it will be a beautiful decoration for many years to come. The beautiful letters are also available individually, so you can also spell out your child’s name, e.g. The poster is screen-printed, 24×40” and can be bought either framed or unframed:

Binth also has several other great children’s items in classical modern style worth taking a look, e.g a precious babybook, a colorful number print and a gorgeous memory game:

Check out their website for more great designs, they have gorgeous prints for adults as well!
Available at Binth , unframed $85.00, framed $375.00, babybook $110.00, number print unframed $55.00, framed $225.00, memory game $44.00.

Modern baby gear: The Stokke Xplory
June 17, 2008, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Gear | Tags: , , , ,

I thought today I would present a few of my favorite modern baby gear picks, some of them have become quite well-known, but for all those who haven’t heard of them, or have only seen them and would like to know more, here is today’s feature.

Interestingly, I am starting the day with some Scandinavian design again, yes there really has to be something in the air in Europe’s north, that makes people create such great designs, or perhaps it is the long, dark winters. After I have introduced several Danish and Swedish companies, I will be talking about Norway based Stokke, though they have gained world-wide reputation by now and are not limited to Scandinavia anymore, of course.

I know the Stokke Xplory is a ‘love it or hate it’ product because of its unusual design. While some people prefer the ordinary everyday stroller, others, like me, are really fascinated by Stokke’s fresh design approach. The idea of having your child sit high in the stroller is so ingenious, since we know babywearing is the best for bonding with your baby and having good communication, but sometimes we are just too tired to be carrying the precious bundle for hours on end. So the Xplory is a great alternative, if you are looking for a stroller that allows you to stay in contact with your baby. Being higher up has many advantages, for example little children are out of harms way from dogs and exhaust fumes. Also, they are able to see more of their surroundings, which is again nice because it gives the parents many opportunities to explain what is happening around them, and can make children more interested and inquisitive, and thus support their mental development. Not to forget that the Xplory can also be used as a highchair when out, so there is no need to use the icky ones the restaurant provides, or despair because there aren’t any available.

But having your child sit higher is not only great for children, it is advantageous for parents as well, especially tall parents, because it prevents backaches when bending over to pick up your baby. There are even more advantages for tall parents: Handlebars easily adjustable to any hight, and an open frame that won’t be hindering parents from taking long strides, as there is no cross bar that gets in the way. I also think the idea of having a shopping bag instead of a shopping basket is pretty smart, as it can be detached from the stroller and be taken with you, so there is no need to repack your groceries. The last feature I love about this stroller is the wheel collapse machanism, designed to make going up- or dow-stairs a breeze. Of course there are also numerous seating positions possible, you can also get a carseat adapter, and the Xplory is just oh so beautiful and unique looking!

Check Stokke or Stokkeusa for retailer information, practically there are tons of online stores who sell them. But let me warn you, it is pretty much the most expensive stroller you can get, e.g. Modernseed sells the basic version for $899.00 and the complete version with carrycot for $1,099.00

Modern baby gear: The mozzee nest highchair
June 17, 2008, 7:05 pm
Filed under: tableware | Tags: , , ,

Next in line is the Mozzee Nest, a great piece of contemporary interior design that has started the trend of modern high chairs. It was designed by Australian Sally Dominguez, who was in search of baby furniture that would blend in seemlessly with her modern style home.

But the Mozzee Nest is more than just a beautiful accessory. Of course it meets the safety requirement, and has some nice additional features. Such as converting the seat into the Nester lounge chair suitable for children up to 6 years of age. Moreover, the chair is made of durable quality materials, such as powder coated steel and UV stabilised polyethylene. The minimalist design is not just beautiful, but harmonizes well with the removable tray and holds the child firmly in place. Of course the chair can also easily be wiped clean. All combined, the Mozzee Nest is a beautiful piece of design, which excells in form as well as function. No wonder it was awarded the prestigious Australian Design Mark for safe and innovative design!

Available either via the MozzeeDesign website for AU$464.00, or check their stockists information to find a retailer near you. MiniJake e.g. sells them for US$575.00.

Modern baby gear: The coco bloom baby lounger
June 17, 2008, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Furniture, Gear | Tags: , , , , ,

This baby lounger truly is the most beautiful out there, isn’t it? So stylish in fact, it fits right into any contemporary home and wouldn’t you just love to use it yourself if it were of appropriate size? The coco lounger by bloom, one of the greatest companies if you are looking for modern children’s design, is available in two versions, coco plexistyle and coco stylewood. Both variants are produced in a multitude of color combinations, from clear with orange to brown with white. All models look equally great, so it will be a tough decision, which one to get! The coco lounger is made of a single piece frame, which increases durability and provides pleasing aesthetics, and it features a self-rocking function, soothing for baby. Furthermore, the seatpad is made of microsuede or leatherette, wipes clean easily, is of course cozy and comfortably padded and adapts to a growing baby with the adjustable, integrated 5-point harness. Don’t you just love all these wonderful items that can combine great functionality with superb style? To make things even better, the single piece frame also means no assembly is required, and new padding can be bought separately.

Available at a lot of modern baby gear stores, such as Spunkysprout, where the coco plexistyle retails for $350 and the coco stylewood for $200.

Architecture inspired: People will always need plates … and coloring books

I guess naming your company People Will Always Need Plates is a bit of an unusual (an lengthy) name, but at least it’s true.  If you believe their product range, then people will also always need tea towels, badges and prints, oh and not to forget coloring books for the little ones.  Now what makes this company so special is its design: these are not the typical flower, fruit or animal collections, but blueprints of mostly modern architecture. The coloring book contains 23 of their designs, everything from modernist penthouses to gregorian townhouses. Should you be craving for more architecture after seeing the book, you can of course always get some plates, because perhaps you have heard, people always need plates! 😉 Ordering is a bit difficult though, since they don’t offer a regular online shop, UK buyers have to get an order form from their website and send it in with a cheque, while foreign customers need to contact them first. Seems like the 21st century has not arrived everywhere… Oh well, it’s their business of course, but I am certain a lot more people would like to buy their items if they had a working online shop! I almost forgot, the coloring book sells for £5.

Muji’s City in a Bag wooden blocks
June 16, 2008, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Picks for Grown-ups, Toys and games | Tags: , , , ,

Architecture inspired city design is also the perfect despcription for today’s second item, Muji’s City In A Bag wooden blocks.  These are esthetic toys available with iconic sites of New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.  They are beautiful to look at and would just as well make the perfect piece of decoration on a desk, since I believe they make really original paperweights.  In fact, they are not necessarily aimed at children, but at traveling adults with collector aspirations, to be honest.  But they seem to be just perfect for kids, and I do like the idea of familiarizing your children with differnt cities and famous buildings early on.  Even though they will not know about the real places at that age, they will certainly be fascinated when they see an image of  the Empire State Building and realize, that they have a miniature version, or when they actually see it for the first time in real life.  Besides, along all the ugly clutter available, it is nice to see some items that also appeal to an adult’s sense of beauty.

Each set retails for £5.95, available at Muji.

funky, modern wall art: Lea’s Alphabets by Grégoire Ganter

After having reviewed vintage inspired design yesterday (see below), I thought it was time to switch to the modern period and review some contemporary pieces of funky children’s design.  I will start today’s posts with a walldecor that’s hip and does not have any of the usual children’s stuff cutesy.  Additionally, it looks great together with the LoJo Ball, which I am also reviewing today.

Lea’s Alphabets by Grégoire Ganter is a great example that shows how kids can have their room decorated in a fresh style, that is entertaining (many details and pictures to watch), educative (children can learn the alphabet, learn that there are different fonts, and associate objects with letters, just as in ‘normal’ alphabet imagery for kids) and timeless (his designs are not only for little one’s, but look also appeal to teenagers. And even many adults, I suppose, would not mind hanging his pictures on the wall). But above all these advantages, his prints just look great! Take a look:

As you could see, there is a huge variety of themes available from the Lea’s Alphabets range, you can have and a-z print composed of just food, for example, or just using one specific color.  Also, you may pick a one letter print, featuring a collage of many objects starting with that letter and many different fonts.  Or perhaps, you just want a single letter-picture combination, maybe to have your child’s initial as the focal point of the nursery.  His prints are also available as postcards, and you may even contact him for custom work, e.g. spelling out your son’s or daughter’s name.  All big prints are available in several different sizes.  They are limited editions of 100 pieces, signed and numbered on the back, and printed on matte, archival paper, so you will have to frame them properly, if you want to enjoy them for years to come.

Available on his website,  a set of 26 a-z postcards for $52, small letter or alphabet print for $200, big prints for $500 (also in-between sizes available).  And one last picture:

Funky, modern seating: the LoJo Ball

As today’s topic is modern design, the LoJo Ball fits right in, with its funky appearance.  This variable seating has a sphere shape, held together by a surrounding zipper.  If zipped, the LoJo can function as a stool, a foot rest, or simply a room decoration.  If unzipped, it turns into a low lounge chair.  It is a variation of a standard beanbag, since it is also filled with the same beans, but still its design is very distinct from that of a bean bag.  Though this product was actually designed for adults in mind, rather than children, I think it really shine’s in a modern kid’s or teenager’s room.

And let’s face it, kids love to sit low on the ground, the lounge chair function would be great for them, plus, even the smallest ones can already sit on the unzipped LoJo, but we adults mostly prefer more elevated seating positions, and the LoJo’s design is simply too cool, to be left zipped up all the time.  Hence, the perfect stylish children’s seating for play, reading and relaxing, without the common cutesy.  And who would have thought, they even have a mod themed one that matches really well with the Herbie-style baby shoes I reviewed just yesterday!

The LoJo can be ordered on their website for £99.00.