Concept refinement – adjustable height solution

So I try to come out with more solution for the height adjustment.


  1. First idea is to make use of the “H” shape support stand for adjusting within the two height by flipping the support stand over.
  2. As for the second one, it is the simplest way by adding legs that can be attachable from the furniture. The use can choose to attach the leg stands by screw it on the bottom of the furniture (to use as a cradle) or the side (to use as a chair for lower height).
  3. The third idea comes from this 60s adjustable metal chair. That user can choose their desire height by unscrewing the center metal pole. But I am concern that it will be unstable for the whole furniture to reply on one pole.


In the process of exploring the composition of the element, I went to look at how sofas are made.


And I found this sofa that uses wood to blends with fabric, and with the 4 metal stand it looks minimalistic and classy. I would love to use such material combination for my furniture, but at the same time I am still researching more possible materials for my furniture. There were some popular materials for sofa such as viscose and polyester, as it is engineered fabrics that stand up well to kids and pets but even the most durable fabric will break down if user don’t maintain it. So I still considering is it better to use fabrics or not for the comfort of the furniture….

Idea refinement

From the previous consultation, I was told to show the size of the furniture and think of the support for the cradle and chair. I went to conduct a little background research on baby cradles with regards to the general size of it as well as the height from the ground. Once I had a better idea of how tall a baby cradle is supposed to be, I had to also further think of how to make the baby cradle transform into other forms of furniture; more specifically the rocking chair for kids as well as a modern-looking sofa chair.


After much brainstorming, I have narrowed down my ideas to the 3 configurations seen in the above figure. Personally, I prefer the 3rd configuration due to its simplicity in terms of adjusting the stands while also managing to look the most impressive aesthetically.


Based on the figure above, this is the scale of the size of cradle as compared to an average size of a Singaporean. The baby cradle will be 100-cm tall as it would be more convenient for parents to handle the baby. The difference in the 2nd stage lies in the removal of the stands, and the furniture will then be placed on the floor to act as a see-saw/rocking chair for children to sit and play on. The catch as seen from the figure (the 2 black circular dots at the bottom of the furniture) is originally used to insert the metals stands but will be doubled as stoppers in this phase when children rock from side to side to prevent them from falling off. In the 3rd stage, the metals stands can be joined into the catches at the top corners of either side of the chair. This will transform the furniture into a piece of stylish, modern-looking chair that can be utilized as a sofa.


Ideation (Sketches)

After the consultation last week with Prof Fabrizio, he suggested not to change the concept of designing a “multi-functional” kids furniture, so I am back to the concept of creating a “transformable” furniture. When looking around for inspiration, I went to look up for modular shapes. So here are some of my idea sketches.


This concept is about making use of holes and slots, to support the squarish U shape cushion that can slip around to be use as a cradle bed for baby to sleep in or a rocking horse seat. There will be total 3 pieces of cushion and will stick to each other via velcro, the reason for splitting the cushion into 3 is to narrow down the width of the furniture when it is being use as a cradle so the width of the seat is suitable for the child to be sit on. As the width as a baby cradle and rocking horse are different. As for the last stage it can be use as a chair for the user to sit on.


As for this second concept, is about making use of two symmetrical piece that can be stick together to be a baby cradle and reform it by sticking it up and down to become a seesaw. While flipping the whole furniture over, it can be a playable platform for kids to play around.

After coming out with all these ideas, I realized the first two outcome were fine but the last outcome as to use it as a chair is barely adequate… I think I need to think more about the shapes and all, to refine it to be a better solution…

Direction & Sketches

After all the research, I come out with a direction of what I want to do for different age range.

Mindmap 3

This is just the first plan, it might change during the process of sketching as ideas tend to change where inspiration is gathered from extended research.

And I think instead of designing a “transformable” kids furniture, my direction will be more of a “multi-functional” kids furniture that are target to last for years. The primary reason behind the shift in direction is due to the challenges of identifying a suitable material to suit a transformable-type furniture. The multi-functional furniture still upholds the idea of having a furniture that is able to last throughout the years.


The inspiration for this concept come from the shape of a bean. It can be use in 4 different ways. First stage, it can be use as a baby bouncer; second stage, a baby chair; third stage, rocking horse; final stage, a sitting chair. During the process of drawing this concept, I was concerned about the smoothness of rocking the chair as there will be leg holes underneath, so I come out with the idea of adding a adjustable cover that can cover up the leg holes.


This concept is having 3 functions(Baby chair + rocking horse + rocking chair) into one furniture. It is a normal rocking chair for adult but with something extra for it to become a multi functional furniture.By adding a flat piece at the back of the back rest to provide baby to put their bowl while they use is as a baby chair, together with leg holes at the back rest of the cushion seat. And back rest support is very important for babies and the cushion seat is definitely too big for baby to use it as a baby chair, so i come out with the idea of adding a extra piece of cover at the back rest of the cushion seat, so it can be open up to provide a smaller space to support the baby’s back while the baby sit on it.The cover is also to use as a cover to cover the leg holes while it is not in use as a baby chair.


This concept is about making use of unique shape to create a duo functional furniture. It is inspired by the SeesawSEAT, the furniture that i research last time. It can be use as a seesaw, and by turning the piece over it can be a bench.

Understand Ages & Stages

During my first presentation I was asked to research on what kids normally do in different age, as I am ponder over what kind of kids furniture I want to make and what kind of furniture for which range of age, here are some research that I found from online resource.

Ages 0-2


Intellectual Development

  • Children at this age learn by exploring with their hands and mouth. They bang, throw, drop, shake, and put items in their mouths.
  • Hiding things will get more difficult when your child starts to look for hidden objects. By 24 months, he can find things hidden under two or three other items.
  • Learning how to use everyday objects is an important development at this age. Kids learn how to use a spoon. They learn to drink from a cup. They learn to comb their hair.

Physical Development

  • Children will first learn to hold their head up. Little by little, they begin to roll and to sit (usually by six months).
  • Kids learn to creep, then crawl, pull themselves up, walk while holding onto furniture, stand, and then walk two or three steps without assistance (usually by 12 months).
  • At 24 months, children can begin to run, kick a ball, and walk up and down stairs (while holding onto someone’s hand).

Ages 3-5


Intellectual Development

  • Imaginary play is a notable milestone of this stage.
  • Children begin to name colors and begin to understand simple counting.
  • It’s important to stimulate your child’s intellectual development by reading aloud to him every day.
  • Kids gradually begin to understand the concept of time.

Physical Development

  • Hopping, climbing, swinging, and doing somersaults begin at this stage. By age 5, many kids can stand on one foot for at least 10 seconds.
  • Children can draw a person with up to four body parts by age 5. They draw circles and begin to learn how to copy a square and some capital letters. They learn how to use scissors.
  • Kids often become frustrated with wanting to do something physically and not being able to do it yet. Thus, they have lots of falls and mishaps.

Ages 6-9


Intellectual Development

  • Kids learn to read gradually. Children who are read to aloud and are encouraged to read tend to develop more quickly intellectually.
  • Your child will become more sophisticated in understanding the concept of time. They enjoy hearing about times past.
  • By age 6, most children can count to 100. By age 9, they are beginning to learn how to multiply.
  • Engaging the bodies as well as the minds of children this age will help them learn.

Physical Development

  • More physical abilities will develop. Many children can dribble a ball with one hand by age 6. Most learn how to ride a two-wheel bike. They become more skillful at skipping and catching and throwing a ball.
  • Kids this age like to move. Many become restless and wiggle if they sit for too long, which is why school can be difficult for some children at this age.
  • Your child may practice balancing a lot. They balance on curbs, chairs, and other high places. Monitor their balancing acts to make sure they’re safe.

Ages 10-14


Intellectual Development

  • Most kids enjoy the social aspects of learning. This works well when teachers encourage learning in small groups.
  • Around ages 11, 12, and 13, shifts occur in kids’ thinking. Keep them engaged in school and learning. Encourage their curiosity.
  • Many kids move from concrete to abstract thinking. Concrete thinkers focus on the here and now, such as a particular house cat. Abstract thinkers focus on issues that are are not associated with a specific instance. Thus, an abstract thinker can talk about domestic and wild cats, how they’re similar and different, and which ones they believe have more skills than others.

Physical Development

  • This is the age when kids need to start using deodorant and learning more personal hygiene. Some go overboard and spend hours in the bathroom. Others resist, refusing to bathe.
  • Puberty reigns at this age. Puberty, however, has several stages for both boys and girls, which is why you’ll see kids developing at different rates between the ages of 8 and 18.
  • With growth spurts come clumsiness and a lack of coordination. It isn’t easy for a person to grow six inches within a few months without his sense of balance being disrupted.
  • If your child is not athletic, help her find a sport or physical activity she enjoys. At this age, kids who don’t excel athletically are tempted to avoid all physical activity. Consider martial arts such as kung fu, judo, karate, or tae kwon do, which often appeal to this age group.


After this research I get to understand more about how kids reaction in different age range, now all I need is to come out with a plan of what furniture I am going to design to fit into the age range.


Products for children


I went to the library to look on books about kid’s furniture. And I found this book from the library, “Kids Design” by Dalian University of Technology Press. That talks about kid’s furniture and showing different category of furniture as I was lost of selecting which kind of furniture I want to make as the range are really wide.

Firstly I went to look at what kind of requirements are needed for designing a kids furniture….

Before the age of 11 to 14, children would come to the most important life stage during which they are experiencing the maturity of body and mind, the information of humanity quality and world values and the interactions of various problem. Within these few years, children usually make rapid progress like learning to run, to play, to speak, to observe, to please, and even to develop bad temper, while parents find it too fast to accept all the changes that happen to the little personalities and feel that they should have done better in their early education.

For parents, to meet the basic standard of raising kids is to provide the a healthy and safe growing environment. Thus, children’s product also on the safety issues concerning the shape, structure, material, weight and more importantly, how they are used. While most people care about the physical change, the designers are more considerate in offering children the best gift for the development of their inner world.

A cardinal principle of all the people who designing kids furniture is to concern the harmonious development of kid’s body and mind which means all information from outside world, through the children’s sense organ, would act on the development of their nerve and nerve system and thus leading to the maturity of the perception, cognition, consciousness and judgement; in return, the higher level faculties would accelerate the healthy formation of other physiological elements. Accordingly, we come to know that the development of a child doesn’t start from maturity of their body, and learning is also part of the development. But most parents fail to realize the striking capability of their kids’ learning and believe that they are too young to understand things. As a result, their judgement strangle the kids’ great wisdom and hamper their growing speed. An American child psychologist who once personally brought up ten children from different family circumstances for 17 years says that the key point of children raising is not how much you have taught them but how they are taught to avoid losing. In this sense, children are not students but teachers and they may turn every utensil into toy and every toy into a teaching tool. Therefore, all children’s products will, without exception, act on the sound development of children’s body and mind. In this sense, designers are specially expected to meet the great challenge and fulfill the parents requirement.

As the book says an excellent work is designed to cater to children’s age characteristic and not to satisfy the needs of children with large age span, eg: from 1 to 5 years old. Usually, the change of a new born baby is based on days, infant on months and kids on years or half a year, thus the product for younger children is characterized with short life circle, a feature must be considered in order to design practical pieces of work. So I think it will be good if I am able to come out with a product that can cater different age as I think is wasted if most of the kids furniture have such a short life span.

So based on the above mentioned factors, the children products are designed on the following principles as:

  • Safety: The material and the content of harmful substances comfirm to the standard; the edges and corners are well treated; the dimension is for proper age.
  • Right age: The size, material, color and function of the products are for right age.
  • Entertainment scene: To create proper mental environment and mood of game, appealing to the senses of sight, hearing and touch, in line with the cognitive ability.

So after reading the book, I come out with this mindmap about the directions that I can go to.


Products for Sleeping


Bed is the first household furniture for children since newborns sleep for up to 16 hours a day during the first few months and those of 2 or 3 years old will sleep 12 hours a day. That is to say, babies spent almost half a day sleeping which is helpful in developing a healthy mind.

Babies grow fast and their beds are expected to grow with them. But it is a challenge for designers to fulfill the expectation since there are some basic standards to have to be followed in producing bed. Therefore, it is hard to create a single bed that can enable use from new born up to 8 years old concerning the facts that children will experience dramatic physical change during these years.

And so, these are the requirements for designing a kids bed:

  • If ropes are used as guard rails, special attention should be paid to the gap between knots to protect the babies from stifling.
  • Avoid paint cracking and toxic substances (like lead, benzene, or formaldehyde) in coating the beds since babies are apt to bite when teething.
  • The swing frequency and angle of cradles or cribs are expected to correspond to those of pregnant mothers. The vibration of cribs should be managed to avoid the potential danger aroused by excessive shake: at best, it will result in the slow brain growth; at worst, an intracranial hemorrhage.
  • Check the stability of little beds regularly; keep the beds clean and the surface smooth; consider the playing mode and age when designing the upper and lower beds.
  • Offer babies the best sleeping environment since newborns spent most of their time sleeping, a protective inhibition adapting to the outside stimulus.

Products for Eating

Sweet toddler girl playing with fork and spoon eating spaghetti

Children of different ages may acquire new understanding towards the same tableware like nursing bottle, cup, plates, bowl, hands, spoon, chopsticks, dining table and stool, so in most cases, these dinnerware could be applied as teaching tools to train children. For example, an infant is usually complete ignorant of the shape or function of a spoon when he or she even cannot eat with hands, so they can only imitate adults while failing to differentiate between spoon and chopsticks. But little by little, children learn to understand and use spoon through repeated trying and training. As clothes, food, shelter and travel are basic elements for life, it is important for children to be actively engaged in family life as early as possible so as to learn to shoulder social responsibilities.

Products for Gaming


Toys are the media of children’s games. Children can turn nearly anything into a toy if they want. They can make a car by putting a bench upside-down; they can link several benches together to make a train; they can turn a pillow into a doll and turn a table into a house… Children’s creativity is always beyond imagination and they can easily connect two seemingly different things together, which shows their ability to view the world as a whole. Recognizing the connection between things is what we count for truly recognizing the world or what we call “acknowledge”. Rather than concerning the individual point, they are more curious about the underlying mechanism of a question and ask “Why it’s going this way?”. Such questions stand for the reasons or mechanics behind the phenomenon ans the links of different elements. Every question like this related to their personal experiences will stir the next questions, which is the essence of children’s life, life with curiosity, in another word, passion and creativity. Questions from children may cover various fields whether they are useful or not. And it is such an endless curiosity that brings them into maturity in an easy ad progressive way.

If you are choosing toys for your children, you do not need to take their age into consideration and make your decision based on the function of toys. For example, all training of behavior, vision, audio, attention, cognition… is not only built from the separate knowledge point, but also from the natural process of growing and cultivation of good habits.

The design of intelligent toys focuses on generating curiosity rather than teaching knowledge in the primary school to children in advance. All in all, the game appliance must pay attention to children’s physical and mental health as well as developing their skills. It should teach them and make them understand the behavioral rules like when to be a leaser and when to be a follower, when to be concentrated and when to be at ease, what cooperation is and what communication means…

Products for Storing


The storage equipments for children are designed to cultivate the ability of dealing with their business and thus featured with being interesting, legible, simple, and safe. Besides this, other elements as the combination mode, stability, shape, color, height, material, position, category and function are also needed to taken into serious consideration. Generally speaking, younger children are pleased to use simple storage appliances like shoes rack, clothes rack, trash can and toy box, while the older ones are happy with wardrobe and bookshelf… to take care of their own articles for daily use. All children products are expected to be interesting, playful and attractive, supported by stories, personification, exaggeration, dreams, or cartoons

Products for Decorating


Environment factors in this category refer to visual factors. Living environment can easily affect the children’s mood and thus children of different ages ought to be exposed to various environment. For instance, bright and vibrant colors do not suit newborns in that they need quiet and mild atmosphere for sound sleep. But to the older ones who love to listen to stories, it is wise to change the environment in response to the story plots. At the same time, children had better participate in home decoration to know what they want and what they can create.

Products for Nursing


The products for child nursing are actually the extension of adult’s limb function. This category illustrates the designing of stroller while requires special attention to the way of baby’s sitting, safety, comfort, sleeping and playing. In addition, the strollers are expected to be easy to carry, to push, to store, and to offer parents a better view. Accordingly, the function, size, material, color, structure, way of folding and sitting, weight, speed of pushing and style of the strollers must be designed in accordance with the age of the baby concerned.

I feel that is it important for me to find out the requirements for designing kids furniture. So next step I’m gonna select the categories that I want to focus on from the mindmap. And at the same time read up more books about designing furniture for kids.

Material Research: Rattan

Rattan is a naturally renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia, and is used for furniture, handicrafts, and building material among others. Rattan continues to be an invaluable part of rural people’s livelihoods in South and Southeast Asia.

Rattan products

Because it is light, durable and relatively flexible, rattan is used for a range of purposes:

  • Food: The inner core as well as the shoot of some of the rattan species is edible.
  • Furniture: Furniture is the main end product of rattan.
  • Shelter: Rattan is an approved material for house building in rural areas.
  • Handicraft: Basket,mat, rope, net. Provides the main income of the rattan industry.

The skin of rattan strands is peeled off and used for weaving, while the “core” of the rattan can be used for various purposes in furniture making (wicker).


History Of Rattan In Furniture Design

Rattan vines can grow as long as 500 ft and 1-2 inches in diameter. When rattan is harvested, it is cut into 13-foot lengths and the dry sheathing is removed. Its stems are dried in the sun and then stored for seasoning. Then, these long rattan poles are straightened, graded by diameter and quality. The quality is judged by its inter-nodes – the fewer inter-nodes, the better.

The age of colonization introduced the West to rattan furniture. Wicker, a process of weaving rattan, gained popularity in the Victorian Era. Rattan was seen as the symbol of tropical island living. People recreated the idyllic lifestyle in grand houses and saloons using exotic rattan furniture. 


To this date, nothing evokes relaxed living the way rattan furniture does. Rattan furniture designs are produced in astounding variety. Artists and designers continue to experiment with this humble material.

Solihiya Rattan And Its Modern Reinterpretation

One particular rattan weaving method proliferates in recent Southeast Asian history. Known as solihiya in the Philippines, it gained popularity during the 19th century Spanish colonial era. Solihiya is essentially thin strands of rattan woven into sunburst patterns. When used as the backrest and seat of chairs and lounges, it lets air through, providing comfortable rest in the tropical heat. Which I think it will be suitable for us who live in Singapore, it will be good if the furniture can help reducing heat when we are sitting on the furniture.

Filipino designer Ito Kish took this inspiration into his line of furniture and created the Basilisa collection.


The Basilisa Collection showcases the solihiya, an intricate weave that is both functional and decorative. Functional because it strengthens and supports the object on which it is used; decorative because of the beauty inherent in the weave itself, and the exquisite play of light and shadow it produces.


Adding to the impact of the pieces is that different solihiya weave patterns were used, all culled from different parts of the Philippine archipelago. This adds a subtle layer to the play of light, the chiaroscuro, that sets Basilisa apart, and which naturally gave birth to the lamps ranging from fun to elegant that form an important part of the collection.


Benefits of sustainable rattan

  • Helps to protect forests from degradation
  • By providing a source of income to rural people, it allows them to become stewards and guards of their forests and biodiversity
  • Provides habitat for endangered and threatened species
  • Ensures a long-term supply of a useful material

Sustainable rattan isn’t just about making sure there is a long term supply of this material into the future. It is also a way to safeguard the ecosystem processes, species and human livelihoods that are tightly interlinked with the existence of this plant. This is why it is necessary to progress towards more sustainable production and processing practices.

Here Are some Rattan furniture that I found online, to see what kind of shapes can rattan be form.

54bf1e84ec888_-_1-everywhere-lounge-1008-xlg koji-outdoor-furniture-armchair-shell b-alance-asian-inspired-patio-furniturecherry-blossom-patio-furnitureasian-inspired-outdoor-furniturebalanced-patio-furnitureround2012011215381296045-outdoor-rattan-furniture-modern-garden-furniture-set-and-lounge-chair-2-347Rattan-Meditation-Chair-Modernsustainable-rattan-indoor-furniture-by-cane-line-445-outdoor-rattan-furniture-modern-garden-furniture-set-and-lounge-chair-3-347fun-outdoor-furniture-modern-rattan-onyx-4-thumbwhats-up-weaving-basket-631avia-tall-rattan-chair-habitat-remodelista

Due to the flexibility of the material,rattan allows for it to be woven and shaped around frames of varying shapes and sizes. It creates a very strong weave that does not easily tear or unravel, especially when properly treated and coated. I realized that rattan has a lot of benefits that I can take in consideration for my kids furniture. One of the benefits is that rattan is lightweight and therefore easy to handle, unlike wood, the lightweight pieces do not topple heavily on children.Rattan is durable and waterproof, When properly coated with a protective finish, rattan furniture should last for years without visible damage to the weave or to its metal frame. Rattan is economical and cost effective as well. It is much cheaper than wood and lasts almost just as long.

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