kinder MODERN, in an innovative PULSE prize nominated exhibition blending the lines of art and design, commissioned dynamic design team Chen Chen & Kai Williams to investigate the lasting legacy of historical child design through their ingenious material-based contemporary lens. Using innovative manufacturing approaches, the duo explores the physical connection between the past and the present, examining and reinterpreting the joinery found in child design of the twentieth century.

In these two contrasting collections of one-of-a-kind studio prototypes, Chen and Williams manipulate two completely different materials: hard, single sheet fiberglass and soft, multi-layered compressed homasote. Through these unique functional furniture series the intricate joinery is thrown into stark relief, inviting the viewer to more deeply investigate these often overlooked details and, most importantly, contemplate the future of child design. Chen and Williams have seamlessly melded iconic details and contemporary flair in these heirlooms for a new generation, asking us to consider art, design, history, influence, and pedagogy all while enjoying the functional and historical references in this series of chairs, shelving and storage.

Chen Chen and Kai Williams for kinder MODERN was inspired by traditional modernist design education, which began in the post-kindergarten era, as avant-garde designers created new forms in furniture and toys, hoping to stimulate imaginations and create the society of the future by playing with line, plane, and volume. Additionally, their own formal training at the prestigious Pratt Institute, their daily studio experimentation practice, and Williams parents' original production of a homasote chair for a museum show on design for living all influenced the collection directly. With this experimental collection of their own, Chen and Williams expose and examine the original handcraft and distinct forms that have shaped the material world of today’s child.

kinder MODERN is thrilled to engage, support, and motivate these illuminations in design for our youngest generation and the families who love them.