The urge to stay young is the father of invention.
Peter Van Riet and his fellow Belgian dads didn't see a reason why involved fatherhood had to mean cutting back on their longboarding time. They are hard-to-define creative types who see every challenge as an opportunity, so they are inventing the Longboard Stroller!
Obviously, it's still at the iPhone/GoPro demo video with royalty-free technolite music stage.
Actually, that's where the project was in January, too. And they don't look like they're dressed for Antwerp in January.
Maybe that's because this was shot on May 6, 2012. And the video was only released in January. It's the "Quinny Jett mobility concept," because Van Riet is an industrial designer, and Quinny, the stroller manufacturing parent company of Maxi-Cosi, and the juvenile products subsidiary of Dorel Europe, the European subsidiary of Montreal-based Dorel Industries, is his design firm's repeat client.
And sometime after that video, it seems to have been determined that a straighter, less branded name might have more viral traction, so in March, Belgian skater/ snowboarder/ designer/ internet consultant Yves Ferket registered longboardstroller.com, and voila, or whatever the Flemish say when a marketing plan comes together.
Because the longboard paradigm is certainly cooler than the scooter-based Roller Buggy, which Austrian designer Valentin Vodev has been developing and exhibiting since 2006. A fully functioning Roller Buggy was being shopped around, seemingly ready for market, in 2010.
Which puts a kink in the Longboard Stroller narrative. Introducing the January video, Van Riet says, "Together with Quinny we worked on an Urban mobility concept with an eye to the future. By creating an all round team and including longboarders we came up with the Quinny Jett concept." But in a more self-promotey video Van Riet posted a month ago discussing the beginnings of the project, he says Quinny came to him because "they had developed a new idea" and were very "enthusiastic to collaborate." This "new idea" was a basically a Roller Buggy made from scrap.
If this is, in fact, the "prototype," it has a built-up skate deck mounted on a scooter frame, with a Quinny stroller seat for a handle. It's a fiction, built up out of junk to obscure the reality that Vodev's polished aluminum models were sitting on pedestals in design exhibitions and industry trade shows.
Which is not is not to say real design work or value wasn't done here. The most significant change is one the faux-totype tries to kludge together: switching from a scooter paradigm to a skateboard.
Going "back" from the scooter's big wheels to traditional longboard trucks wheels looks to give a maneuverability advantage. But the Roller Buggy looks significantly more stable and real-world usable. This tradeoff could be read as highly symbolic of the gap parents regularly discover between fantasy and reality.
And despite their apparent knockoffish tactics, I think Quinny moves the discussion forward in a meaningful way here in a way that has nothing to do with design or invention. But which has everything to do with the entire concept's glaringly obvious baby-as-hood-ornament problem: they put the kid in a helmet.
Think of who don't wear helmets: Grown men toodling around on skateboards. Northern Europeans riding bicycles around towns. Kids on walking bikes. Kids in strollers. Kids on buggy boards behind strollers.
Now think of who do wear helmets: Some American adults. Most American kids. Kids on the backseats of bikes, and in bike trailers.
When considered as straight-up strollers, these rideable stroller concepts look ridiculously unsafe and slightly embarrassing. When considered in the context of other adult-rideable transportation options, though, they look totally plausible and, in the case of the Longboard Stroller, even appealing.
Carry on, Baby Industrial Complex!
Longboardstroller.com [longboardstroller.com via gizmag via dt reader rolf]
Urban Jett for Quinny [blog.studiopetervanriet.com]
Previously and suddenly related: that one time that lady was pushing that stroller on a Segway
Related: NAS - No Idea's Original [youtube]