Earlier this year I attended the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York to take in the latest and greatest furniture products from around the world. After looking at hundreds of chairs, light fixtures, and tables, I came upon the most unexpected find. An amazing cradle designed not only to fit into any contemporary modernist aesthetic pallet, but designed primarily with the baby’s comfort in mind. Upon further discussion with the designer of the so-ro cradle, I realized that what made this cradle so unique was not just the beautifully crafted and designed cradle I saw on the floor of the exhibit hall, but also the amazing work that Ane Lillian Tveit has contributed in her dedication to the betterment of disabled children’s lives.
Ane Lillian Tveit was one of the designers featured in the Norwegian booth at the fair. When I first saw the cradle, I was immediately intrigued but I was not quite sure what it was. With its oblong design and sculptural quality, I thought it looked like a cradle but it was unlike any cradle I had ever seen. Fortunately Ane Lillian, an occupational therapist by training, explained to me the theory behind her design. She said, “Babies love to rock” and I was a bit confused. So she went on to explain how different motions, when perceived by the baby, can create different effects on the baby’s comfort. For example, the forward rocking motion of a rocking chair can have a calming or soothing affect on the baby, while side ways or lateral motion can often cause dizziness or discomfort. The so-ro cradle is designed to rock in a forward motion similar to that of a rocking chair, unlike the sideways motion of typical cradles, providing the baby a soothing effect that helps them fall asleep. The cradle is also designed with safety in mind and made with natural materials. Additionally, it is also made to be easily assembled and disassembled for easy storage.
What is not easily apparent at foremost, is Ane’s other work, as an occupational therapist. Ane dedicates much of her work hours to help make better lives for disabled children in Moldova, Eastern Europe, often described as the poorest country in Europe. Her work there has helped countless children by improving their living conditions and by helping contribute to their integration in the Moldovan society. In 2011 Ane was awarded the Children of the Earth Prize for her extensive work in Moldova.
See the video documentary of Ane Lillian Tveit’s work in Moldova. Please be advised the video can be quite emotional.