February 13, 2007

"Fun On Wheels" By Stephan Gip: Furniture In Disguise

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This might just be cool enough to make up for the high chair. Swedish architect Stephan Gip is credited with the 1962 design for the all-wood, no-tray, trapezoidal stacking high chair that we wipe off a little every day in every restaurant in every country in the world.

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But three years before that fateful chair, Gip designed Fun On Wheels, an awesome hardwood modular furniture/toy system that kids could reconfigure in a whole slew of different ways. It could be a car for one or two, a desk, a pair of chairs + a cart...

If you're looking for an explanation for why Ingvar Kamprad thought the world would be fine building its own furniture, you don't need to look any farther than this photo of a group of kids--including one who can barely walk--playing with the Fun On Wheels.

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These images were shot by Karl Erik Granath for Design Quarterly 57, 1963, an issue about children's furniture edited by Anna Campbell Bliss. I'd barely heard of the book [there are no copies for sale on Abebooks at the moment], and there's barely any info about Gip online [in English, anyway], and no mention of [this] Fun On Wheels. Pretty remarkable for the creator of such a ubiquitous design on the one hand, and such an awesome plaything on the other. Does anyone else have any info on this rig?

With some Sketchup and a decent workshop, I would bet you could knock together one of these Funs on Wheels for your own brood. [Granath helpfully shot a picture of all the parts, which is included in the flickr photoset.] If you do decide to build your own, consider paying tribute to Gip's all-wood details like the rotating axle pin. Not too sure about the flat joints on the base, though, which are held together with just five screws. Maybe Swedish kids back then didn't jump.

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1 Comment

Could you please advise us the price for such a Stephan Gip childrens highchair and whether it is possible to purchase this in Denmark or is it only available in Sweden since it is a Swedish design??

If possible to buy in Denmark please inform me the retailer - thank you!

Thank you for your soonest reply!

Best regards
Mai Hauswald

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