Tripp Trapp chair

‘Tripp Trapp’ high chair, 1999
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

High chairs and cradles are perhaps the pieces of furniture most often made especially for children. This reflects the particular needs of the youngest age group; but the modern beech wood ‘Tripp Trapp’ high chair is adjustable so that it can be used throughout life. The manufacturer’s leaflet shows an elderly man and a baby sitting on chairs, which are identical but put together differently. As the child grows, the high back and baby rail can be removed, and the depth, height of the seat and footrest changed. For a full-sized person, the lower stretcher rod and original seat are also removed, and the original footrest becomes the seat.

Peter Opsvik, of the Norwegian furniture firm Stokke, designed the chair. All Stokke’s seating is based on encouraging natural movement even while the sitter is at rest, for greater comfort and health. The firm also believes that the form a piece takes should follow from its use. Opsvik created the chair when his eldest son, Tor, grew too big for his highchair, but was too small for any other seat he could use at the family table. The goal was well-being at the table and better communication between children and adults.

The chair’s adjustability continues the tradition of high chair design since the 1860s. At this point, it was realised that such an item could have a variety of uses as well as being an attractive piece of furniture which would not look out of place anywhere in the house.