A Conversation With Designer Marcel Wanders And Cybex Founder Martin Pos On Creating Children’s Furniture For Adults

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While best known for their chic strollers—aesthetics, and design have always been at the heart of every product Cybex makes. One of the world’s leading lifestyle and child safety brands—they’ve collaborated with some of the top names in lifestyle and fashion from designer Jeremy Scott to supermodel Karolina Kurkova and even DJ Khaled. However, one of its most unique offerings is The Adult Collection, created by Dutch product and interior designer Marcel Wanders. Wanders is a true visionary who has worked with some of the top names in the luxury space such as Fendi Casa, Baccarat, and Louis Vuitton.

The Adult Collection addresses a major problem with children’s furniture. While children enhance life, all the things they require seemingly overtake adult living spaces. Even if these items aren’t a permanent part of the home, any parent who prioritizes design will likely admit these essentials impact the overall aesthetic.

I recently spoke with Martin Pos, founder of Cybex and Executive Director of Goodbaby International as well as Marcel Wanders about the concept of product design, designing children’s products that won’t make adults cringe, and the origins of the Adult Collection.

Amanda Lauren: Why does Cybex go outside of the box with design?

Marcel Wanders: Cybex is led by Martin, who is a visionary and that out-of-the-box mentality influences everything that the brand stands for and does. Martin and his teams work to make the best products and Cybex stands in the face of conventional wisdom to push the limits, experiment, and challenge the expected. Working together, we very much mirror each other as we desire to only make products at the highest level.

Martin Pos: My philosophy has always been that usually people look at things and ask themselves why? We look at things that do not exist and ask ourselves why not? Impossible is not an option therefore thinking out of the box is an integral part of our DNA and is instinctively how we approach everything we do.

Lauren: One thing I’ve noticed about Cybex’s aesthetic is that it deviates from the typical rugged or minimalist aesthetic of comparable brands. Why is this?

Wanders: More than making mass-produced items, Cybex chooses to use imagination and intelligent design knowledge to execute on the highest standards.

This includes a very particular elevated aesthetic which is important to me when collaborating with other creators or brands, especially since the juvenile industry does not necessarily stand for that. This experience is mutually beneficial and with Cybex, you know your designs will be treated with the utmost care and will not simply be “one of the others.”

Lauren: What inspired The Parents Collection?

Pos: After one fortuitous meeting, we saw that endless innovation was possible by developing a line of products that are both functional and fun.

When you plan to revolutionize something, you need to find a partner who can reimagine everything. We are a company with certain capabilities and strengths, but we needed someone with that extra magic, love, and beauty, so working with Marcel was [only] natural.

Wanders: It was such an opportunity to work with a partner and a company with the same passion for style and living. And what a challenge to make a collection for babies. Furniture for babies should be stylish but fun, contemporary, and simple yet safe.

Lauren: Why do you think most essential baby furniture (rockers, bouncers, and high chairs) isn’t designed to look like furniture that adults want in their homes—that detract from the space, as opposed to enhancing it?

Wanders: The starting point for us was in fact thinking about how to make a collection not for babies, but for the parents. We created an experience that is unexpected and surprising. Going from being a couple to a family is quite a change in lifestyle and it is not necessary to change everything, from your room to your house or your complete environment.

Pos: So we made our most fabulous dream come true. Marcel magically combined functionality and design, elements that everyone else does not necessarily think of in the juvenile industry and certainly not to this level. Our collection integrates into a family lifestyle, without disrupting what the parents as adults had before the new arrival.

Lauren: Why is black a good color for babies? Other than the fact that it hides stains well.

Wanders: My iconic black Monster Chair was actually the first inspiration for the design concept of the collection and mixed with patterns it created an element where imagination could be borderless.

Lauren: Tell me about the graphics used on each piece.

Wanders: The collection that includes a stylish High Chair, a Rocker with a relaxing sculpted shell, an intelligently engineered Bouncer, and a Hausschwein inspires imaginative play and has four main characters. The little monsters are the Hippie Wrestler, the Space Pilot, Graffiti and Love Guru enliven and represent the collection slogan of “Living your most fabulous dream.”

To avoid the expected, we steered away from butterflies and roses and thought of monsters instead. Inspired by the designer toys and manga figures, we embraced their playful, funky cartoon nature and developed an entire collection of them. Caricatures are a big part of what I try to bring to many of the projects we design.

Pos: These cunning creatures also exemplify that while still maintaining the rigor of staying true to Cybex’s D.S.F Innovation Principle (distinctive design, superior safety, clever functionality)—of course adding a bit of color and wit makes it complete.

Lauren: Do you have any tips or ideas for stylish parents trying to integrate baby products into their homes?

Wanders: People can often see themselves in the furnishings they place in their homes. Their lifestyle and sense of what makes them unique is solidified by their surroundings. I wanted to design for the [type] of people who take a personal interest in everything from their clothing to music to furniture. This option is fun, bright, family-oriented, and functional, but also cool and fitting to the world that they have been building.

We made this collection to be fashionable and elegant. The furniture is playful and embraces the modern family sensibility that doesn’t need to disappear just because you have children.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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