As amusing as rocking horses are for young kids, they’re not the first thing you’d associate with the world of eminent international designers. And yet, over the years, we’ve seen a number of creative heavyweights take interest in reinventing this traditional wooden plaything, and this interesting trend seems to have gained momentum of late.
Maybe it reflects a greater movement towards serious design aimed specifically at children, or maybe it’s just an example of important ideas people looking for a fun, playful outlet for expression. Either way, we’re a little obsessed with the quirky results. Here we take a look at six of our favourites.
This contemporary bentwood rocking horse was recently designed for furniture company Gebrueder Thonet Vienna by creatives at Stockholm-based studio Front, who were inspired by the classic 1860s Thonet Rocking Chair. How sweet are the tiny ears?
2. nendo’s h rocking horse
We love the sleek simplicity of this horse by Japanese studio Nendo, which forms part of Kartell’s first furniture range for kids, launching in April 2016 at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair. It’s made from just three pieces of transparent plastic and takes its cue from I-beams used in construction.
3. marcel wanders’ arion
Launched at Salone del Mobile 2015, this majestic piece by famed Dutch designer Marcel Wanders for Moooi turns the traditional rocking horse into an enchanting unicorn with a white embroidered leather head and silver horn and stirrups. As Marcel’s website says, with this high-end design, ‘your childhood dreams are enlarged to grown-up size’.
4. green chicken rocker
Why rock on a wooden horse when you can ride on a green chicken? This offbeat creation was born out of Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon’s desire to portray a common bird as a sensational modern piece.
5. rocky the rocking horse
Conceptualised by Australian industrial designer Marc Newson for Italian furniture company Magis, this curvy rocker represents a contemporary, pop version of the conventional kids’ rocking horse. It’s moulded from plastic and its form is loosely inspired by medieval jousting horses.
6. rocking hot dog
This has to be the most bizarre rocking horse of the lot. The avant-garde result of a collaboration between Jaime Hayon and Nienke Klunder, the comical purple sausage, which is made from fibreglass, aluminium, leather, wood and chromed metal, is part of a series of eight and is more artwork than toy.