Designer Monika Mulder at IKEA took her inspiration for the LÖMSK children’s chair from her own childhood. When she was growing up, it was strictly forbidden to spin around in her dad’s leather armchair. Something she obviously found to be a real shame. But what neither she nor her dad knew was that spinning is actually a good way to train the balance. “As a child, I was always standing on my hands, and I loved swinging and spinning around. Dad’s armchair had been so tempting, that as an adult I thought there ought to be swivel chairs for children too.”
But Monika felt that spinning wasn’t enough. So LÖMSK was given a hood that the child could pull down, so they could hide or read in peace. Every time Monika visits an IKEA store, she sees evidence that the idea works: “The chairs are never empty, there’s always a child in them.”
Child psychologist Barbie Clarke, who has studied children’s development, has also seen how popular the chairs are in the stores. She believes that the hood is one of the reasons for its success: “Children love something that can be transformed into something else. It stimulates their imagination and gives them a feeling of having magical powers. With the hood down, a child can hide away and have a little time to themselves.”
Spinning around in the chair is not only fun, it also contributes to the child’s physical development, says Barbie: “When children climb, hang upside-down, run, balance and spin, it develops their motor skills – especially their balance. This is important, as it gives the child a feeling of safety and control over their movements. They improve their balance and avoid falling over and hurting themselves.”
Since she developed LÖMSK, Monika has had four children herself. They have all played with the swivel chair – but not always the way she intended. “In our home it has always been used to store toys. Sometimes, when the children’s room needs tidying, everything on the floor quickly gets put away under the hood. And often in the evenings, it looks like a glowing ball when one of the children is in there with their reading tablet.”
For Monika, the fact that her children use LÖMSK in an unexpected way is a good thing. As a designer, she wants to contribute to children’s play and imagination. “Children learn all kinds of important things through play. In their world of pretending, they’re preparing for life as an adult. Nothing is set in stone, it’s the children’s imagination that determines what LÖMSK can be.” In 2021, LÖMSK is still sold at IKEA.