February 1, 2010
A young Bugaboo designer gets a second chance at his first assignment.
In 2003, at the relatively tender age of 29, Jaap den Boer landed his dream job, becoming a designer at the fashionable Dutch stroller company Bugaboo. He has been working on the same project ever since. “When I came to Bugaboo, there was this French inventor who had a patent on a folding buggy mechanism that was quite complex,” den Boer says. “We could buy his patent as the basis for a product, so out of that I made the first sketches of the Bee.”
At that time Bugaboo had only released the Frog, an all-terrain stroller that accommodated a basinet or seat. The Bee, by contrast, was to be a small, collapsible one-piece city model for children up to three years old. It came out in 2007, “a small four years later,” den Boer says, but he still wasn’t satisfied with the design.
He knew from testing it with his own child that, for instance, the seat ergonomics were not as good as they could be. “When the Bee was at the press event in New York that spring, I was home with my daughter because she was sick,” he recalls. “I didn’t yet have a call-in connection for my computer, so I asked myself what the Bee would look like if we could begin all over again, and started sketching.” But it wasn’t until that fall, when a Bugaboo production manager decided the company needed to address consumer complaints about the seat, that den Boer actually got the chance to revise the design. The New Generation Bee will be released in April. Here den Boer walks us through the critical changes to a product he believes he has finally gotten right.
Click the images to read den Boer’s comments on the design.