September 17, 2010

Holy Moley, Billi Bolli 'Adventure Bed' System


Yes, now that we've successfully taken the plexi front off K2's Juddy bed, I've been thinking about bunk beds more. But no, I did not plan to make it Awesome & Unobtainable Bunk Bed Week around here.

And yet, it's hard to resist when DT commenter Christopher links to the beautiful, modular bed/crib/bunk/loft system that Munich designer Peter Orinsky makes at Billi Bolli.


Billi Bolli's beds are constructed from sets of solid wood beams--beech, pine or spruce, raw or in various finishes--and can be ordered in a huge variety of configurations. Which can, in turn, be adapted using conversion sets.

I thought I'd at least go through the catalogue and count the number of possible configurations and options, but I gave up: there are cribs, twin cribs, crib+bunk, crib+loft, double bunks, triple bunks, quad bunks [!], bunks for pitched roofs, turrets, rope swings [!], cranes, slides, desks, train- & castle-shaped panels, and on and on. Co-sleeper-style nursing beds are their own thing.


The cribs are what blow my mind: three-sided, against-the-wall structures that look like honest-to-goodness, kid-sized, productized versions Ken Isaacs' Living Structures. Or non-fugly Gridbeamers. Or sturdier, more flexible versions of Bruno Munari's Abitacolo bed/racks.


The catch? Oh, from here, it looks like just about every porthole opening or ladder rung is sized to catch a kid's neck, but they can't be, right? Orinsky's been building these things since 1991 and repeatedly touts their inherent safety, especially their safety rails and fall heights. It's not clear whether the 1000+ beds he sells/year go through Germany's rigorous TUV safety testing program, either, but they're clearly not designed or tested to meet the CPSC's bunk bed regulations. So there is all that.

And then there's the cost [EUR1200-1500 for basic bunks] and the shipping [who knows?], which they'll happily arrange; they apparently send huge piles of lumber around the world through the mail on a regular basis. And don't forget, EU mattresses are different dimensions.


But if you manage to overcome the configuration complexity, the regulatory issues, the cost and the shipping, you're still faced with the dilemma that always haunts resolutely functionalist, modern design: the seemingly irresistible urge to cruft it up with decorations, doodads, and fanciful fabric canopies. Scroll through the Billi Bolli customer photo gallery, and you can count the Sprockets on one hand. You have been warned.

Billi Bolli: The Adventure Bed system []

Update: At the request of Billi Bolli, the original images accompanying this post have been replaced with watermarked versions.


Have you ever seen Maxtrix Kids beds?

I bought two singles for my boys (now 5 and 3). Currently, they're configured as two single beds, but they can also be reassembled into bunks.

My wife and I are also considering jacking up one and/or the other into loft-style beds to allow additional play space underneath.

Maxtrix sells a ton of accessories including:

a Conestoga wagon-like hoop tent (above the bed)
a peaked tent (above the bed)
fabric tent walls to be used under lofted beds
a slide for high-lofted beds
a tower-like structure go along with pillows, coverlets, etc.

see for details

Are the through bolts supporting weight there? Hard to tell.

they make a big deal about carriage bolts, and I have to assume if there's a rope swing, the whole structure's fixed to the wall, too.

I love the cribs and the rope swing.

My son has a flexa bed which is similar, minus the strangulation portholes and really cool cribs.

Glad, you like them, too.

Take care

Here are some more ambitiously priced German beds:

Just found out that the original inventor of the billi bolli beds sells a manual on how to built them on So instead of importing them from Bavaria you could just give this manual to a skilled woodworker of your choice ...

Also in English:

Nice hustle, Christopher.


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