An exciting new carrier has been designed in the Netherlands, when I reached out to my colleague Marloes de Graaf, she was willing to meet with Bas Froon who has turned carrier design on its head. Please find Marloes’ original article here.
As a babywearing dad in the Netherlands, Bas Froon loved to carry his daughter, whether on vacations or just in the city. But he found that he wasn’t a hundred percent happy with the carriers he tried, which include both an Ergobaby and a frame backpack carrier. The Ergobaby pulled too much on his shoulders, though he enjoyed how close his daughter could be held on his body. It is soft and molds fairly nicely. He also liked some aspects of the frame backpack carrier like how it provided a great amount of support by moving the weight securely to his hips. Once again though, it wasn’t perfect.The weight was held too high and too far from his body and he missed the close contact with his daughter that he got using the Ergo.
Bas’s mind starting spinning.
As a result of being a designer and babywearing dad, Bas knew there must be a better way.
Bas was inspired to try and design a carrier to suit his values. So he embarked on a journey to design a better baby carrier, moving forward with the values that were important to him – preserving the connection between parent and child while respecting the environment. Did he manage it?
Yes he DID!
First he had to choose the material.
As a designer, Bas is fascinated by products and their relationship with their manufacturing process. Bas: “It’s intriguing for me to understand the subconscious qualities of products and materials around us, and to apply these qualities later on myself.” Hands-on experimentation with materials and techniques are crucial in his design process, Bas: “… this is where often the most beautiful surprises originate.”1
Bas ended up choosing a material made from cellulose and which is a biocomposite. When this material is in its raw form, it is soft and cuddly. When it is pressed at high temperatures, it becomes hard and strong. But how to preserve the softness and flexibility needed for the babycarrier features he prized most? He literally had to go back to the drawing board and start by looking at the machinery. To be able to achieve the qualities he was looking for, Bas specially designed and built a machine that would allow the material to keep its softness while taking advantage of the durability achieved through pressing it.
A short video of the process is here:
The best way to achieve both softness and strength was using a honeycomb pattern.
And I was lucky enough to be able to see the carrier for myself!
The fabric and materials were indeed cuddly soft. Difficult not to touch. The material was both very thin and strong. The buckles are cut into the same material, reducing the thickness of standard carrier buckles, the whole carrier is made from the same material! Its texture was extremely soft to the touch. Each carrier is individually printed using either a 3D body scan or with the aid of a computer design. One of the questions I had was, “Would the carrier be useless when you lose or gain a lot of weight?” No! Because the carrier is soft and is quite mouldable, it is able to form to your body and can be used by more than one person. Though the carrier Bas showed me was made based the 3D image of his body, it fit me too! Awesome!!
Though I tried it on, I didn’t have a chance to test it with a doll or with my daughter because it had become fragile from all the attention it received at the Graduation Festival 2017 held at the Hague earlier this year.2
And to be honest, it was so neat, I didn’t want to break or damage it too!
Bas and I will continue connecting, to keep learning from each other as Bas starts designing the next prototype. And maybe, some day into a carrier that everyone can buy!