Raised to a chair, before big | Luis Gil Pita – Cristina Nieto Peñamaría

We are interested in emphasizing the particular world of the chair for children, very specially because it is first one of the contacts of the citizen to his more first infancy with a machine that serves to the most basic domestic uses, as step before the use of the architecture and the city. The chairs are the simplest (complex) machines that put in relation the human action with the near architectural environment. To sit down to the table to eating or probably to working (as game) separating, and being raised, already of the soil of the first months before reaching higher and natural places to her own actions of the persons of age it matures. As Medawar establishes in the relation of a body with his immediate environment the chairs they would be tools, appendices or external organs of the own being that they evolve with us and, first, in the first interrelationships of the child with his environment beyond the bosom of his mother.

When I climb it turns in insignificant and the child yergue takes advantage very commonly of the supplementary table and the adult chair as support, confusing in an intuitive, spontaneous and natural way the use and function of the scale to which there was destined the object that he observes. How many times we will have listened to the judgment ” stoop of there that it is not a chair or extracts the things of there that it is not a table ” in allusion to a natural confusion on machines done for the citizens’ use of another scale.

Scene of appropriation of the space of scene for seat in the Vondelpark Amsterdam

In the opposite direction to adapt functions and adult processes to the size of the children demands a flexible and opened attitude that changes bosses and stereotypes not only affected into the change on a large scale. The creative thought with the aim to adapt to the child moves inside several scenes or very basic parameters that we arrange according to the following topics of creation COPY-PASTE-SCALE, STRECHT, NEW.


It is obvious but indispensable to say that the first notion of the design of the infantile chair is born of the work in the scale, that is to say in the reduction of the size of some adult designs to be adapted to the ergonomics of the child producing objects identical relatives of the original ones in limited version of thought for the height of the man or woman adult, almost in the sense in which a model does it of the original one.

In this respect, and still in the infantile version of some traditional and classic models, it is of application and recognition the Beginning of Similarity that already it was describing Galilean on the adjustment and dialog I change on a large scale and alteration of the function. A smaller born chair of the copy of the original one of adult is not simply an application to climb reductora but it demonstrates structural and formal, sometimes slightly perceptible, but necessary alterations to continue inside functional parameters.

Galileo’s Similarity Beginning


From the principal argument of construction of the infantile machine of the chair, before described in relation from the scale, another guideline recovers adjetivizadora. It is the action that restructuring and subverting in cause the previous modification on a large scale done to the height of the small ones, it tries to make the small invention manageable again to the hand and vision of use of the tutor, of the father or the mother. That is to say, to be able to make the decrease of size manageable for the adult previously obtained and to be able to organize some actions of misunderstanding with other furniture to the scale of the major ones, as the relation with the food or the game in the high plane of the familiar table. It is the case of the tronas and chairs of accompaniment, which need becomes obvious by the incongruity between the infantile scale of the chair of the child and the scale of the table of the adult.


Less common for his difficulty, risk and for the continuity of the classic parameters in the treatment and relation of the adult world with the children they are the designs ex–novo. They are, for the common thing, chairs that do not ensue from the adjustment of a model classic standard to a small scale and later deformations since we saw in the second paragraph but of the creation of a machine that manages his own idiosyncrasy generally in relation to the flexibility of uses or scales and heights. It is the case of the Norwegian Chair Tripp-Trapp that structures his logic and obtains a formal absolutely different result for his need to accompany to the growth of the child from the first months up to almost the puberty.

The perverse melancholy confusion

It has been and the bad practice is common of introducing out of the bosses before reported, on a large scale, function and ergonomics, in the design of chairs for children, such as there is accustomed to denounce Enzo Mari, the decoration and superfluous forms of the imaginary Disney, simply because of this form they seemed to the children to be more nearby. This imagery only is the superfluous sweetener that departs from the industry adds but that neither no value nor sign of identity puts to the rich and diverse world of the minor.

Simply it is a resource infantilizador unnecessarily and a projection that beyond his moral lightness reinforces and marks the domain of the adult over the child. These adobíos are in addition a free expressed resource not even ghost in the traditional world not vernacular of the furniture adapted to the children ever.

Trona traditional balance beam in Seurasaari Island. Helsinki

In this respect the only admissible exception and adjetivizadora that adds character diferenciador to the seat of the child out of the parameters on a large scale and forms necessary for ergonomics, comes in occasions of the side of the use of the color as accent. This budget also modern, that is neither free nor false in relation to the form, appears at the beginning of s. The XXth tied to the new parameters of attention to the infancy on the part of new and wide studies, between which one of more directly related to the world of the design and the architecture is the educational system Montessori. All the modernizadores systems from ends of s. The XIXth and during s. The XXth have recognized the value of the didactics of the color in the enrichment, learning and dialog with the exterior of the infantile psyche.


We think that the infantile chair is and it will be always the beginning of the relation of the citizen in his earlier age with his more near environment, with the quarter, with the architecture inside the architecture, before going out to the street and to be related to the city.

It is the point of support, of balance of the center of unstable gravity of the small scale in relation to the speed and coordination of the world of the adults and is also the first political regulation that we follow to put order in the functions and tasks to realizing in coordination with the world already separated from the soil and in relation with other furniture, other scales and functions to realizing.

Luis Gil+Cristina Nieto. architects
santiago de compostela. september 2010

Note: Brief notice the bosses of design of the infantile chairs in relation to eight examples, for the exhibition of the Roteiros of Creation of the City of Santiago de Compostela in the Bar o 13, September 2010

Luis Gil Pita

Arquitecto por la ETSA de A Coruña en 1997, desde ese año colabora en el estudio de Manuel Gallego Jorreto hasta 1999. Becado de investigación en Holanda en 2000-1, con un estudio sobre lo fronterizo y liminar en arquitectura, por la Diputación de A Coruña, fue posteriormente Profesor invitado en el área de proyectos de la Facultad de Arquitectura de Guimaráes, Universidade do Minho, del 2001 hasta el 2007. Desde el inicio de su carrera ha publicado asíduamente artículos y ha participado como editor en diferentes publicaciones alrededor de la arquitectura.

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