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Carly Matheson

“fun”ctional furniture


The right to play is a child’s first claim on the community. Play is nature’s training for life. No community can infringe that right without deep and enduring harm to the minds and bodies of its citizens.
David Lloyd George

Playtime is an invaluable part of growing up. It teaches emotional, social, cognitive, creative, communicative, and physical skills that can’t be learned in any other way. It helps children to relax, to rid themselves of negative emotions, to suspend reality, to make sense of the world around them. But despite all the known developmental benefits- children of all ages are not currently getting a balanced approach to play. Nearly two thirds of one to four-year-olds may be missing out on structured social play and more than 68 percent of five through eight-year-olds are not getting the recommended amount of pretend play.

The need to raise greater awareness of the benefits of play has become increasingly obvious, as parents need to feel empowered to prioritize playtime activities.

Because play is truly such an essential part of a child’s life, we should be presenting them with every opportunity possible to use their imagination. Homes should be safe spaces where playtime is encouraged and the furnishings are not only able to withstand children’s play activities- but also invite interaction and imagination. Play shouldn’t just be allocated to a particular “play room” in the house or one “toy closet.” This series of furniture explores the junction between interior design aesthetics and playground equipment- creating pieces that cater to the needs of both the adults and children occupying the space. Each item functions as a traditional piece of furniture while easily transforming into an object of play. This converts any living space into a transitional area that is always ready for playtime, encouraging kids and families to prioritize play within their homes.

The abstract nature and versatility of these objects enhances a child’s experimentation and inventiveness. The aim of the series is to put no adult limits on the child’s imagination- giving them every opportunity to explore and adapt the equipment however they want when they are playing.

A toy should be 90 percent kid and 10 percent toy. If there’s only one way to play with it, it’s not a very good toy, because the child does not have to do anything or think about things in a different way. Any kind of open-ended situation or material is where you’re going to see kids’ thought processes, problem solving, and determination.
Nancy Schulman