7 questions for Helene Hjorth about designing for children
What is your background?
I have worked with children’s design most of my life, from the development of toys and dinnerware, to furniture and bed linen. For almost 10 years I worked specifically with design and product development of safety products for children and I obtained great insights into how children act in everyday life. All products are tested over a long period of time, e.g. in a kindergarten where the children’s daily life is being observed and that creates many surprising and funny situations.
My technical background is of great use when it comes to production and material selection of the products we design.
Why did you decide to become a designer?
I actually wanted to study architecture, which I love and continuously use as a source of inspiration but sometimes life just takes you in a different direction. I simply love the children’s universe and I am thrilled that I took this path instead.
What is the best thing about working as a designer?
The best thing about my job is that no two days are alike. I have a very easy-going approach to the design process and as a person I am curious, some may say impatient. The best products come from having the freedom to immediately try out new ideas which is why I always work at many different projects at the same time.
What do you think makes great design for the little ones?
Great designs for children are functional and safe, but also aesthetic for the parents. The design, colours and materials should contribute to the baby’s senses and development, but at the same time it should align with the rest of the home – this is our focus and ultimate goal. We design with both the child and the parents in mind and the biggest challenge, but also the most fun part, is to fulfill both their needs. A great design is also recognizable, and it’s even better if there is an added element of humour.
What are your best tips for decorating a children’s room?
It’s important to surround yourself with things that contribute to a positive and relaxing atmosphere, for both the grown-ups, as well as for the children’s room. If a room is full of strong colours, mixed patterns and too many items, it can seem distracting, providing no peace of mind. In a child’s room it’s difficult to colour coordinate everything but a smaller dose of colour impressions and lots of storage room to tidy up, can provide the peace and quiet children need.
The style of a child’s room doesn’t have to be any specific style. It can give a room character and coziness to mix vintage with modern things.
What was the inspiration for the 2017 collection?
Our team works very closely together, especially in the start-up phase. We share our ideas, thoughts and impressions and that inspiration can come from anywhere, such as materials, tones, graphic art, surfaces, architecture and of course every day life with kids. The inspiration for our new furniture collection came from the 50's and 60’s. We wanted to incorporate this retro feeling into a modern nursery.
What is your favourite product from the 2017 collection?
I have to pick the baby cot! It’s something we’re really proud of. It just has that simple, yet recognizable touch and functionality we aimed for and we’re overwhelmed by the positive feedback we are getting.