Mobiles may be a staple of baby rooms around the world, but the Flensted mobiles, many of which are exhibited and sold in prestigious museums around the world, are something of a design icon regardless of your age.
A traditional craft in Denmark, the modern mobile – as a decoration for the home – was created in 1953 by Christian Flensted and his wife Grethe to celebrate the birth of their first daughter. This first design, the Stork mobile, was a great success, and now flies all over the world. Today, Christian and Grethe’s son Ole along with his wife Aase manage Flensted, and there are now dozens of designs, from rolling elephants and flying cats to interpretations of modernist artworks, such as the Bauhaus Mobile or the Tate Terry Frost, which was designed for the Tate Modern in London in cooperation with abstract artist Sir Terry Frost.
It really is almost impossible to decide on a single design, but we do love the Prize Hens in all their many colour variations, the Expecting Fish and the Rollephants… the only way to decide is to have your baby ‘choose’
The Flensted team tell us that traditionally mobiles were made as a pastime using straw, bits of thread and paper. There was a significant amount of superstition attached to mobiles; among other things it was said that if a person of evil intent entered a room in which a mobile hung, the mobile would immediately cease to move! Also mobiles were hung by village women over a baby´s cradle to protect the children from the evil eye and soothe them.
The mobiles are designed so that the elements are in constant motion. “Mobiles are like an aquarium, they catch and hold the eye,” explains the Flensted team, “and to watch its calm subdued movements brings serenity of mind, and fosters one’s thoughts and creativeness. In a room where there is no apparent movement of air, invisible air currents will ceaselessly bring the mobile alive, and it will never remain absolutely still.”
Designer Details Establised in 1953 by Christian Flensted and his wife Grethe, today Flensted is run by their son Ole, who designs most of the new collections, and his wife Aase. With woods and open fields as their closest neighbours on the island of Funen in Denmark – and only 2 miles to the coast – the couple live and work at “Frederiksminde”, the romantic former village school and, instead of having 50 people drive to a ‘factory’ every day to create these delicate products, the mobiles are constructed by craftspeople working from their homes around the island. Every two weeks, the Flensted’s make a visit around the island to each of the workers and exchange unassembled parts for mobiles that have been prepared and packaged ready to ship. This method of producing the mobiles saves more than 10 tons of fuel a year.