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Since our crib section has received numerous hits from around the world, we’ve decided to give our 2 cents worth of critique on other baby products. We are urban dwellers so, for us, we had many requirements when deciding upon a stroller. First, it had to be compact since we live in a small house and don’t have the luxury of extra space. We also walk everywhere and we didn’t want a stroller to take up the whole damn sidewalk when walking and have people grunt as they have to pass some SUV sized suburban stroller! Second, it had to be light weight to carry it in and out of our house and around town in those quaint stores that invariably have steps into their shops. Third, it had to fold easily since we have a compact car and again, space is tight in our trunk. And lastly, it had to be visually appealing since we’d be pushing it along with us for at least 2 years!
Now we could have been snobs and decided on an expensive stokke stroller (I’m not going to lie, their high chair is at the top of our list) but as you can tell from our other product selections, we like high design but with an affordable price tag. We knew getting a stroller would mean it would likely be made in China (unless you could afford stokke), as are all other baby products but we wanted control in where it was being designed – so no Uppababy that are designed and patented in China. So unless we were going to buy a wooden stroller made by the Amish, we resigned to the fact that nothing is made in the USA anymore.
Since we’ve been waiting for a couple of years now for a baby, we’ve had a fair bit of time to research different strollers. At first we thought we’d get the Baby Jogger City Mini stroller (designed in USA). It fit all of our requirements: you could fold the stroller in half with one hand, it was small, had cool colors and was affordable. Even our favorite Mexican singer Lila Downs had one and she lives in New York City (she also adopted a baby!) But the more we thought about it, we realized we weren’t too happy with the City Mini. Our problem was twofold: the stroller would not accept a car seat unless you paid over $50 for a car seat adapter, which at that point made no sense since you could buy a Baby Trend Snap N’ Go for the same amount of money. Plus, the adapter didn’t let you fold the stroller in half, and if we decided to buy the Snap N’ Go then we’d have 2 pieces of equipment we’d have to store in our house. Our other reason stemmed from the fact that when we first wanted the City Mini they were still fairly new and hip. Once Babies R Us started carrying them, we saw them everywhere and we just plain lost interest in that stroller.
We stumbled along trying to find the next best stroller. We just happened to get an email about a new product and fell in love with it immediately: phil&teds smart stroller! The company is from New Zealand (if you order online, you will be billed from New Zealand so be sure to tell your credit card company that this is not a fraudulent purchase) and has very modern, sleek designs. It only comes in black so if you know architects you’ll know that black is the only ‘color’ that matters. They do sell extra padding inserts with fun colors if you want some flare. What we absolutely love about the product is that it’s very compact and yet still very versatile. You can reverse the seat to face you or face out with their verso adapter, which is not expensive at all. It will accept a car seat without an adapter and you can add a bassinet. We thought this was ingenious since most bassinet / stroller combinations are really expensive, whereas their peanut bassinet was very reasonably priced and could fold down flat when storing. Aside from the various adaptable configurations, the seat itself is an engineering feat. They designed a foam seat that is molded into one piece, so if there are any spills you can literally hose this stroller down! As for size, it’s super light weight and small enough for your mini cooper as they so keenly said on their website. This is definitely a great find that not many know about… you can tell this is a hipster stroller when you have the likes of Jack Black and Halle Berry sporting their phil&teds strollers!
Lastly, what struck a chord for us, was that they have a foundation that gives back to the community called phil&thropic. They have numerous different programs for children in need making our purchase even more worth it.
Who says big change cannot start off small? We don’t believe that and neither does punypixel, a new clothing line just launched by a good friend of ours. punypixel starts with the premise that no step is to small, “no matter how puny”, so they are thinking big! punypixel’s primary mission is to help children around the world by partnering with organizations that help make a difference in children’s lives. With the launch of their line of super cool, socially and environmentally responsible kids clothing, they are taking their first step towards making this mission a reality. For their inaugural project, punypixel has teamed up with Cradles to Crayons. With every purchase you make punypixel will be helping to fund Cradles to Crayons’ mission of providing necessary essentials to homeless and low-income children.
Way to go punypixel! We love the concept and all the PunyPixels, Leo, Irs, Sid, and Mike!
As architects we often find ourselves trapped in a world where the dollar sign rules everything we do and because of that we find ourselves designing only for people that can afford an architect. It is particularly promising therefore, to find an architecture firm who’s main mission is to help those in true dire need. For this reason, I found much inspiration in the work of TYIN tegnestue Architects, a Norwegian firm run by two students, Andreas G. Gjertsen and Yashar Hanstad.
TYIN has been working primarily in poor and underdeveloped areas of countries like Thailand, Burma, Haiti, and Uganda. Their strategy is to work with the local communities to build structures that fulfill a need within that community while promoting the development of skills, and utilizing local materials collected from the site or nearby areas. Among their many projects, they have created a series of structures for orphanages in Thailand. The Soe Ker Tie House project is a series of small shelters used as dormitories for an orphanage in Noh Bo. The small shelters basically house one sleeping unit, which is shared by the children and are clustered in an manner that creates shared outdoor spaces promoting a sense of community within the orphanage.
TYIN has also worked for another orphanage located north of Noh Bo. They have worked with the owner of the Safe Haven Orphanage to create a bath house and a library for the children. Utilizing local materials and innovative methods to address waste, TYIN has created a bathing facility that brings hygiene to the forefront as a means to fight disease and a library that helps to reinforce the importance of education and good ethics.
In my search for ways in which design can make a difference in people’s lives, the work of TYIN serves as a reminder that design should be for everyone. As designers, we have a talent that can be used for good and we should all reach out and make a difference in the world.