Concept by Richard Clarkson, Grace Emmanuel, Kahlivia Russel, Eamon Moore, Brodie Campbell, Jeremy Brooker and Joya Boerrigter at Victoria University of Wellington
This rocking chair is named “Cradle” as it epitomizes what the chair is all about. It is about creating a safe, comfortable, and relaxing space in which the user can dissipate the overstimulation of their senses. The design was heavily directed by a synthesis of research into Autism and children with Rhythmic Movement Disorder (RMD) as well as safety, sustainability, function, and aesthetics. We had a strong focus creating a solution for sufferers of RMD but the chair is not exclusively for them and will bring relaxation, comfort, and calmness to anyone who uses it.
Each material choice for the Cradle was carefully considered to be as non-toxic and natural as possible. For instance the Cotton is a natural cotton canvas and treated with a natural plant based stain repellent. Inside the cushions is all natural pure New Zealand wool, and even the wood was waxed using a natural treatment. The glue used to form the wood is aliphatic wood glue which is also non-toxic.
Throughout the majority of the design process for the Cradle chair we had half of the team researching RMD and half taking the findings from the research and applying them into the aesthetics and function of the chair. We found studies that assisted rocking might help to calm participants. Lead blankets also helped to de-stimulate. The chair is an attempt to take these insights and apply them into a piece of furniture that could be used by all. In this way we hoped to create something that was more than beautiful.
Richard saw a business opportunity to further develop the cradle to be more commercially viable. Utilizing the space available at his New Zealand home Richard worked to make the design flat-pack and more durable. Using a unique Velcro formation on the ends of the cushion the design also became washable. Over a 3 month period Richard and his staff (at one point 14 workers) built 15 chairs which are being sold all over the world.