September 24, 2006

All Aboard! The Brio Colour Furniture's Here


A few weeks back, we got the first hints of the Swedish toymaker BRIO's foray into modern children's furniture. Their molded wood-and-foam Grow High Chair has a bit of the Eames and a bit of the Verner Panton going on, and it looks pretty good.

Now, finally, we get to see the other pieces: cribs, changing tables, and play furniture. And let me tell you, I ache. It's almost exactly the kind of elemental, no-nonsense, crib-in-the-dictionary kind of furniture I wish had been available when the kid was born. [hold that thought.]

brio_colour_changing_table.jpgBrio introduced two styles of cribs, both Euro-low to the ground. I like the starker, squarer Colour crib [above], which has a fixed rail and only two mattress positions more than the Moon Lux. And I like the Colour changing table best, hands down, for the same reason. It's like Stickley reinterpreted by Donald Judd.

The high chair: kind of flashy, but a known quantity now, and besides, flashy high chairs are popping up all over in the couple of years since the Mozzee Nest appeared [there's the Boon high chair, the Fleurville Calla, who am I forgetting?] Anyway, and the painted, molded wood play tables and stools are fine and plain, nothing too eye-popping, though.

Brio's real challenge, it seems, is the customers', too: where is this stuff going to be sold? I tried locating a retailer through the still-under-development website and came up empty. No mention of prices, either. The Brio Moon Lux crib is on sale in Sweden for 1595 SEK, or about US$220. [That's within firing range of another large Swedish company's cribs.] It's gotta be a stretch for a toy store used to Brio's little trains and cars to start carrying giant furniture, too.

But there's still time to wait. My guess is they just launched the line at the big Kind + Jugend show in Cologne last week, and so this stuff won't be available for smuggling into the US until early 2007 at the earliest. Get your VAT refund forms ready.

Brio Furniture To Be [ via]
Previously: Vaya con Brio, my darling. Awesome Brio Grow High Chair

[update: after a couple of comments by folks fluent in Swedish design, the Brio Colour and the Ikea Gulliver cribs get a side-by-side comparison. take a look]




That crib looks exactly like the Ikea Gulliver, except for the red varnish.

[Sweden IS a small country... -ed.]

The wall mounted Vegga changing table/shelf thing looks pretty slick, but as my child is still in utero, I'm not sure how practical it would be.

ditto on the gullivar comment...

i gotta say, i felt kind of sad about our economy ikea crib when we first got it and i kept getting bombarded by images from the grand baby industrial machine showing off these glorious cribs with elaborate scrolling and high sides and the works. the gulliver seemed so blah and sad. but now? 7.5 months into it being the safe haven for my babe to sleep and hang out in? i really like it. it's just so SIMPLE. buy buy baby and all their fancy furniture can suck it.

When I lived in Belgium, I remember they had simple cribs--mostly from the Netherlands. I did a little searching, and came up with these from a Dutch baby site. They seem to be a little on the small side.

Ooops--looks like you have to click on "play pens" on the left side to see the cribs.

greg, do you like the fixed rail b/c it makes the lines of the crib cleaner? i immediately ruled out any crib with a fixed rail b/c i was afraid i wouldn't be able to reach in and pick up a lying-down kid when the mattess was in the lowest position -- i'm not so tall.

luuurv the looks of the brio crib/table AND that mutsy high chair.

[the fixed rail is a coincidence, although I can count on one hand the number of times we've lowered the rail on the kid's crib in 2.5 years. The reason I don't like the other Brio as much is the traditional curved edges on the end, which look too compromised. -ed.]

Unfortunately, Ikea killed off their ultimate crib, the Sniglar, which looked *exactly* like the Brio except that the non-frame verticals are dowels and it's unfinished. Beautifully minimal, solid as a rock, adjustable, convertible, etc, and get this: $59. There's one on ebay now for...GBP0.99. If you had the damned thing Fedexed to the US, it'd still be a steal.

[nice catch, sb, thanks. We were checking out the Gulliver recently, and I think that on some key design details, like the square edges and rails, etc., it's different than the BRIO, but they're all the same, clean concept. Also, the Ikea ones we've seen lately all felt solid, while the ones we shopped for ourselves felt really flimsy and wobbly. -ed.]

any idea how to buy Brio products in the US? i love the crib, high chair and of course, the fab strollers

I'm a newly expecting father and I'm usually pretty good at cutting through the myriad of choices and identifying preference when it comes to most babies items. The one big exception however is crib mattresses. My head is about to explode from the options and different makes and models. Does anyone have a simple chart comparing brands and models side by side? coils, firmness, organic/non-organic, chemicals/no chemicals, air vents,covers, non-allergenic, wireframes, square corners, etc etc et.
Can anyone help simplify?

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