There’s an old English proverb that states “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And in today’s age where it’s never been easier to dream, invent and do, there’s another “mother of invention”: mothers themselves. Take architect Michaela Weiss Kirchner Barfod of Denmark’s newest kid-driven company, Fabelab. Barfod created her company during her baby’s nap times (you’ve heard this story before, right?) to encompass children’s products that encourage storytelling and function. And with the launch of her debut product, The Playful Bird, I’d say she’s well on her way.
The Playful Bird was born amidst a pile of children’s blankets that were functional, yes, but lacked imagination in the eyes of a child. Sure, we’ve all heard of blankets working overtime as quiet forts and secret hideouts, but, as Barfod notes, “Such a flat piece of fabric can be so much more.” But what?
Her answer: A stuffed bird. By adapting an ancient origami technique, Barford designed the blanket’s stitching to fall along fold lines for easy shaping and molding for children. It’s a concept that holds many adventurous ideas for kids, but a surprising benefit for parents, as well. For families on-the-go, a foldable blanket that doubles as a stuffed animal makes for simple, no-nonsense packing of naptime essentials.
The idea provides longevity to an object that might otherwise be forgotten long after your favorite mini is “too grown up” for a security blanket. By offering multiple uses within a single product, one special blanket can double as the star of a puppet show, tea party guest or lifelong companion. And although The Playful Bird is currently only available in Austria and Denmark, it won’t be long before the U.S. catches on to the magic of multi-tasking blankets.
Bravo to Barford (and fellow momventors everywhere) for turning baby’s naps into beautiful, functional products. As Robert Lynd famously wrote, “In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” Happy naptime, Mamas.