Fun and functional furniture for kids
It is a known fact that children today spend a lot of time in front of screens. Because of the minimal time used for physical activity, their basic motor skills are declining – something Gymi Furniture founder and head designer Christina Nurmi wanted to change. Her passion for the wellbeing of kids and teens was the driving force behind the brand, created to motivate children to move naturally and learn different skills along the way.
It all started in 2008 when Nurmi founded her company Gymicom Ltd and Gymi Kids’ and Teens’ Health Club. With a background as a gymnast, she wanted to guide young people into the world of movement by teaching them new skills and getting them motivated to move without it being a competition. The brand grew and today there are three clubs in the Helsinki region and one in Valkeakoski, Finland. Gymi is now a franchise concept, and the first Gymi outside Finland will be opening in Norway this year.
“I had many parents and kids who loved the health club come up to me and ask how they could recreate it at home. As a result, we created Gymi Furniture, a set of multi-functional and activating furniture suited for kids of all ages, to bring the joy of motion not only into homes but also schools and other public places,” says Nurmi.
As is common in Scandinavian design, form meets function also in Gymi Furniture. The design is clear-cut and simple. “We have a summer house by the lake Saimaa, and the beautiful lake area as well as the Finnish birches have inspired me. My children have been a major influence and inspiration too. I have designed the furniture together with my husband Jiri Nurmi, and our daughter Lilli and son Veeti have been giving their priceless opinions along the way,” Nurmi smiles.
Furniture for public spaces
Because of the high quality and multi-functionality of the furniture, Gymi Furniture is perfect for public places. New learning environments are made to inspire children and to activate them. In Finland, you can already find the furniture in a variety of schools and kindergartens. “We know that sitting in chairs is bad for our health, and that movement enhances learning. Our furniture replaces old-school desks, tables and chairs. You sit in natural positions on the floor or do your math standing on a balance cushion,” says Nurmi.
Physical activity has a great impact on the brain. Movement not only enhances cognitive learning and concentration in class but makes learning and doing much more fun. That is why the furniture is so well-suited to learning environments such as nurseries and schools. The products can be used to furnish everything from classrooms in schools to corridors in kindergartens. The furniture changes into a motor skill track for play or parkour when the teachers say so.
The furniture range is made of Finnish wood and consists of different items such as wall bars, boxes, planks, ladders, and bars. By combining these different elements almost like Lego pieces, you can build various solutions to benefit different needs. In addition to the wooden furniture, Gymi Furniture also provides soft equipment and custom-made solutions such as metal rack systems, which can be combined with the wooden pieces in the collection.
Natural way to move
Gymi Furniture is made for movement, exercise and play. It is easy to play around and change the setting, giving kids space for free play and creativity. “We have lost touch with the natural way to move. It is important that we let the kids learn new skills by jumping, running, climbing, hanging, swinging and trying new tricks freely,” says Nurmi. She believes that our task as adults is to create an environment where an active way of life is possible.
“When moving on the furniture, the children automatically or with little guidance move on all four limbs, on both hands and feet, doing bear walk or crab walk, and are active in organic ways. Doing tricks on the bars and planks improves your motor skills, sense of balance and body control, and at the same time, your self-confidence and self-esteem develop,” she explains.
Furniture also for private homes
Gymi Furniture is also available for private homes. The products can be shipped all over the world. In addition to the pieces used in public spaces, the collection consists of wall-bar beds, which won the public vote in the Finnish Sport Product of the Year competition last year. An important guideline in producing the items is sustainability. “As a counteraction to our disposable way of life, I wanted to create furniture that will last for generations,” says Nurmi.