Although 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 have collaborated with some of the biggest names in lifestyle and fashion, from designer Jeremy Scott to model 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 biggest names in luxury such as Fendi Casa, Baccarat and Louis Vuitton.
The adult collection addresses a major problem with children’s furniture. While children make life better, all the things they need seem to go beyond the living spaces of adults. Even though these elements are not an integral part of the home, any parent who puts design first will likely agree that these essentials have an impact on the overall aesthetic.
I recently spoke with Martin Pos, Founder of Cybex and Executive Director of Goodbaby International, and Marcel Wanders about the concept of product design, designing children’s products that won’t make adults cringe, and origins of the adult collection.
Amanda Lawrence: Why does Cybex think outside the box with design?
Marcel Wanders: Cybex is led by Martin, who is a visionary and this original mindset informs everything the brand stands for and does. Martin and his teams work to make the best products and Cybex goes against conventional wisdom to push boundaries, experiment and challenge expectations. By working together, we mirror each other very much because we only want to make products at the highest level.
Pos Martin: My philosophy has always been that people look at things and ask why? We look at things that don’t exist and we wonder why not? Impossible is not an option, which is why thinking outside the box is ingrained in our DNA and it’s instinctively how we approach everything we do.
Lauren: One thing I’ve noticed about the Cybex aesthetic is that it deviates from the rugged or minimalist aesthetic typical of comparable brands. Why is it?
Wanders: More than making mass-produced items, Cybex chooses to use its imagination and knowledge of intelligent design to execute to the highest standards.
This includes a very particular elevated aesthetic that is important to me when collaborating with other designers or brands, especially since youth industry doesn’t necessarily represent that. This experience is mutually beneficial and with Cybex you know that your designs will be treated with the utmost care and not just “one of the others”.
Lauren: What inspired The Parents Collection?
Pos: After a chance encounter, we saw that endless innovation was possible by developing a range of products that were both functional and fun.
When you plan to revolutionize something, you need to find a partner who can reinvent everything. We are a company with certain abilities and strengths, but we needed someone with that extra magic, love and beauty, so working with Marcel was [only] natural.
Strolls: It was such an opportunity to work with a partner and a company with the same passion for style and life. And what a challenge to make a collection for babies. Baby furniture should be stylish yet 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 the furniture adults want in their homes — which detracts from the space, instead of enhancing it?
Strolls: The starting point for us was actually to think about how to make a collection not for babies, but for parents. We have created an unexpected and surprising experience. Going from being a couple to being a family is quite a lifestyle change and you don’t have to change everything, from your bedroom to your house or your entire environment.
Pos: So we realized our most fabulous dream. Marcel has magically combined functionality and design, things that not everyone necessarily thinks of in the juvenile industry and certainly not at this level. Our collection fits into a family lifestyle, without shaking up what parents-turned-adults had before the newcomer.
Lauren: Why is black a good color for babies? Aside from 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 the imagination could be boundless.
Lauren: Tell me about the graphics used on each piece.
Strolls: The collection which includes a stylish high chair, a rocking chair with a relaxing sculpted shell, a cleverly designed bouncer and a Hausschwein inspires imaginative play and features four main characters. The little monsters are the Hippie Wrestler, the Space Pilot, the Graffiti and the Love Guru animate and represent the collection’s slogan “Living your most fabulous dream”.
To avoid the expected, we moved away from butterflies and roses and instead thought of monsters. Inspired by designer toys and manga action figures, we’ve embraced their fun, cartoonish nature and developed a comprehensive collection of them. Cartoons are a big part of what I try to bring to many of the projects we design.
Pos: These cunning creatures exemplify this too, while maintaining the rigor of staying true to Cybex’s DSF principle of innovation (distinctive design, superior security, smart functionality) – of course, adding a little color and wit makes it complete.
Lauren: Do you have any tips or ideas for stylish parents trying to incorporate baby products into their homes?
Wanders: People can often see themselves in the furniture they place in their homes. Their way of life and their sense of what makes them unique are reinforced by their surroundings. I wanted to design for the [type] of people who take a personal interest in everything from their clothes to music to furniture. This option is fun, bright, family-friendly, and functional, but also cool and fitting for the world they’ve built.
We designed this collection to be fashionable and stylish. Furniture is playful and embraces the modern family sensibility that doesn’t need to go away just because you have kids.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.