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  • Place of origin:

    Germany (possibly East Germany, made)

  • Date:

    1970s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Nailed, varnished bench made of wood, plastic laminate, hardboard and plywood.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bench was used in an educational setting, a West or East German nursery, during the 1970s. The two shelves, both laminated, mean the bench could be used to hold objects or footwear on the lower shelf whilst also functioning as seating for several children.

Physical description

Two tiered wooden bench with legs supporting a top and bottom shelf, both shelves inlaid with pistachio green laminate. Sheet of hardboard nailed to one length of the bench, forming a back to the lower shelf. Plywood on the under side of both shelves, supported by glue blocks.

Place of Origin

Germany (possibly East Germany, made)


1970s (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Nailed, varnished bench made of wood, plastic laminate, hardboard and plywood.


Length: 92.5 cm, Height: 31.5 cm, Depth: 23.4 cm

Object history note

This bench is part of a group of objects purchased from a sale 'Design for Kids' at the auction house Tajan in Paris. The sale was dedicated to the collection of post war children's furniture belonging to German furniture collector and design gallery owner, Dr Stefan Reinke. His collection has also appeared in the exhibition and publication 'Fidgety Philip! A Design History of Children's Furniture' shown at the Imperial Furniture Collection in Vienna and MARTa in Herford, Germany in 2006/7.

In text written by Dr Reinke, for the Tajan sale catalogue in 2014, he explained his reasons behind starting to collect children's designed furniture: "Of course my three sons inspired me but also the fact that this beautiful theme was almost ignored 20 years ago. However, this also had advantages for me: the pieces of interest were still available and their size allowed me to store them without problems. First, I brought home everything that attracted me. The strong use of colours and unusual, often experimental forms in vintage children's furniture and play objects was fascinating. In contrast to toy collectors, only large pieces interested me. Soon I realised that the kids' versions of architect designed pieces were normally much more rare than the respective editions for adults. In the early days of collecting it was evident that information such as designers, makers and the time of origin was important but only a few books existed."

Dr Reinke collected over 300 objects, a great number of which were chairs and seating. For him "The design history may be illustrated very well with children's chairs, since many important designers made these for kids...The most impressive part of my collection were the designers themselves."

Dr Reinke felt that a pivotal moment in the history of children's designed furniture came at the beginning of the 20th century when "the progressive educational movement emphasised the special demands of children." Up until this point the principle of children's furniture design had, for the most part, been the downscaling of large furniture. Dr Reinke wrote: "The striking role of children's furniture in the history of design becomes evident by its role as an experimental field for prototypes and innovations. Many things are easier to test in the small scale."

(Quotes taken from text written by Dr Stefan Reinke in the Tajan sale catalogue, 2014)

'The beginnings of children's furniture as design objects can be retraced very accurately: In 1866 a page in the catalogue of the bentwood furniture manufacturers Gebrüder Thonet offered for the first time serially produced furniture that was specifically designed for children. After 1900, furniture for children became an interesting task for modernist architects and interior designers...and...after the First World War, furniture for kindergartens and classrooms became an important and socially motivated designing task.'

(Edited text from 'Fidgety Philip! A Design History of Children's Furniture' by Eva B. Ottillinger)

Descriptive line

Wood and laminate bench used in a German nursery, 1970s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sale catalogue for Collection of Stefan Reinke
Wednesday 5 March 2014
Espace Tajan, 37 rue des Mathurins 75008, Paris

Tajan Design for Kids Catalogue


Wood; Steel; Laminate


Nailing; Glueing; Sawing; Varnishing


Children & Childhood; Nursery Equipment

Production Type

Limited edition


Museum of Childhood

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