Design for Children: Josefine Bentzen

We interviewed with Josefine Bentzen  who is a Danish product designer whose work is characterized by a brilliant understanding of form and functionality. Her work with design spans from functional educational tools for children to poetic jewellery made from experiments with porcelain. A recurrent characteristic of her work is the fact that the user is always at the focal point.
Product Designer Bentzen, cares about children and kids, she experiences with them. By her observation, she designs for them.  You could find our questions and her kindly answers below…

What moves you?

In my work, it is important that the products and solutions I design make a difference to the people who use them. I don´t just want to make a new chair or cutlery that looks good but doesn´t improve a functionality or has another type of additional feature to it. My filosophy is that you should only give life to products that enhance everyday life for the users. If the design doesn´t make a difference or another take on fx production, then don´t realize it.

You designed creative products for babies and children. What do they mean for you?

I have always loved working with children. For a number of years, I had a job teaching children of all ages to swim. It was always a rewarding experience to watch a child, who started out the season with a fear of the water, all of a sudden gain the confidence to jump into the water and maybe submerge the head to blow bubbles at the end of the season. I knew that I made a huge difference in the lives of these children and this is what I try to continue doing in my work as a designer. Many of my designs for children have an element of learning to them because although it is important to treat children as our equals we have to remember that everything is still a learning process for them.

How is the process when you design for them?

When designing new products for children, I normally define a theme in which I want to work. In the case of the Toddler  Cutlery, my starting point was for example tools for eating. Very early in the design process, I presented a series of existing eating tools solutions to children of different ages and analyzed the functionality, ergonomics, ease of use and obviuosly the child´s interest in using the tool when eating. These studies got my mind working, and by sketching both 2- and 3dimensionally I pretty quickly came up with some prototypes to test on the children. It is a wonderful way of working because the children see it as a game and I obtain tons of important knowledge about the relevance of my design solution.


What about your Kitchen Kids Collection, in collaboration with Charlotte Skak…

The Kitchen Kids collection was designed for a competition where the theme was products that support a healthy lifestyle. Researching for the competition we came across several articles that stated that the best place to found a healthy lifestyle was in childhood. And another article that stated that less than 5% of Danish children are actually involved in the preparation of the family meal. This important knowledge founded the idea behind the Kitchen Kids collection which consists of a series of kitchen tools that are safe for the child to use.


You have a ceramic studio. Could you tell us about your ceramic works?

My ceramic studio works as my playground and forum for experimental expression. As a designer, I think it is important to have a good sense of material and a way of broadening your horizon is by working and experimenting with new materials and structures. The Ceramic Lace collection of jewellery is a result of my experiments with random drops of liquid porcelain spilled on the table one afternoon in the studio. They formed some beautiful shapes that I refined, resulting in a collection of brooches and earrings where every piece is unique.

Actually, I really like the Impilabile… Is there any chance to buy them? If not, are you interested in selling them?

The Impilabile series of stackable vases and candle holders is being put into production by a Danish manufacturer. It is set to come out later on this year so I will be glad to let you know when they are available.

Is there a new project?

In collaboration with a Danish paper mobile company, I have been working on a series of Christmas decorations that are made out of FSC certified cardboard. This is a project of a more aesthetic character than I normally get involved in, however, there is still an element of functionality in the final result. The products will launch later on this year…
In addition to that, I also have a new project for children in the pipeline, but it is at this point still in its infancy so I can´t tell much more about it.

We would like to say thank you to Josefine Bentzen for the interview and we wish all children in the world a happy Children’s Day…

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