16 March 2010
Are you sitting comfortably?
70 different ways to get children to
Sit Down at the Museum of Childhood
Left to themselves, children settling down with a book will almost always drape, wedge, lean, sprawl or up-end themselves, rather than sit nicely on chairs, writes Sally Jeffery. Sit Down is a record of several centuries’ worth of attempted interventions in this unruliness, via means which include trundling about on wheels, free-form lounging, and undisguised restraint.
It’s been argued that children have to fling themselves about all day for their proper physical and cognitive development. Mico, a sort-of-chair by El Ultimo Grito, would let them do that (top). The Gerrit Rietveld high chair looks as if it might too, but with a high risk of fractures (above). At the other extreme, miniature upholstered armchairs for children can be slightly disturbing, like finding a set of infant dentures. But in a photograph accompanying one exhibit, a child ensconced crosswise on a yellow armchair shows why it’s just not a problem (below).
The exhibition, designed by architects Wells Mackereth, includes interesting commentary written on the walls in big writing (above), helpful if your reading skills are at an early stage.
> 5 September 2010
Sit Down: Seating for Kids
V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9PA
Eye, the international review of graphic design, is a quarterly journal you can read like a magazine and collect like a book. It’s available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and classic collections of themed back issues.