This is Eco-Lecho, a crib fully made of cardboard conceived and crafted in Chile by design studio Küpa and baby products company Be.Mammals. For now, it is only available in Chile for $110–but Küpa creative director Fernando Palma told me that they’re about to start manufacturing new units exclusively for export to the United States, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico. While a crib made out of cardboard may sound a bit odd, the ideas driving its design are quite sensible.
Eco-Lecho, which means “ecological bed” in Spanish, was designed starting from the premise that most baby products are eminently wasteful. As a dad, I fully agree with this idea: all the stuff that parents buy for their kids is quickly made obsolete by biological growth. Cradles, clothes, strollers, travel cribs–it doesn’t matter. Everything that a baby is supposed to have during the first months (and years!) of life is destined to be trashed or, hopefully, sold to some other new parents (and in my experience, most parents don’t like to buy old stuff no matter how clean it can be).
The idea behind Be.Mammal’s crib is that once the baby outgrows it, you can just recycle it. That’s something that you can’t easily do with other cribs that are mainly made of plastic or, if you want to spend a lot of money, wood.
Palma designed the Eco-Lecho for co-sleeping during the first six months of the baby’s life. Co-sleeping is the practice in which parents let their bundle of joy, drool, and fat sleep right next to their bed, on a crib leveled with the mattress. That way it’s very easy for the sleepy mom to roll the little tyke to her breast every time the latter needs food through the night. The theory is that the baby will grow in love and happiness while the mother can actually catch some much-needed sleep.
How solid can a cardboard crib be? According to the manufacturer, Eco-Lecho can handle weights up to 132 pounds. The cardboard and the rest of the materials are non-toxic, liquid resistant, and fire-retardant. The crib, the company says, comes flattened and can be unfolded and put together in about two minutes with no tools whatsoever. It comes with an easy-to-use strapping system to secure it to your bed. I just wish it had been available when my wife and I had our baby a few months ago.