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Design Crime: A Flat-Pack Treehouse

Wanna crush your children’s spirits, become the laughing stock of the PTA? Buy them this tree house!

Treehouse

At approximately 3 p.m., officer responded to a 9-1-1 report of a badly injured nine-year-old boy, next to a tree in McCarren Park, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Upon arriving, officer saw a small child lying prone and unconscious. Nearby stood the child’s father, a bearded man dressed in boat shoes and flannel. Father was asking the gathered crowd for an American Spirit cigarette. When prompted for information about the scene, he responded, “Man, I dunno! We had just finished up collecting cabbage at our urban garden, and I came to build this damn treehouse for Xane. And, [expletive]! I should’ve known! I’ve never been good at math or fixing stuff. Never!”

Father then explained that treehouse was a eco-friendly “flat-pack” design meant to lower shipping costs, and that upon being fastened to a tree with cargo straps–and only cargo straps–the structure simply collapsed when his son tried to climb in on a rope. Officer would like to point out: Perhaps that’s why the design’s marketing pictures show it so comically close to the ground?

Treehouse

Father also explained that the contraption was designed by Aandeboom: “They’re cool. Dutch. They’ll be coming out with more stuff this spring.” Officer recommends assigning a worker from Child Protective Services, and investigating whether flat-pack has gone way too far. Also recommends just building your kid a damn treehouse using imagination and scrap wood.

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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