Ivana Preiss and Filip Vasic of 52hours create a stylish bench that offers privacy and comfort to nursing mothers
Heer might look like a pretty pink futuristic bench, but it’s more than that. It’s a design driven alternative to those rare, poorly-structured and isolated places designated for breastfeeding. “The idea for Heer first came to us when we witnessed a mother being shamed for breastfeeding in a public place. We thought the solution must be in design,” said Ivana Preiss, the Design Strategy Director at 52Hours, a design and brand consultancy firm in Prague. Her partner and Creative Director Filip Vasic joined forces with Nikola Knez evic, an award-winning industrial designer from Belgrade, to create Heer, the first-of-its-kind breastfeeding bench. ‘Heer’ means ‘here,’ in other words, a mother can stay here, she does not need to go out of her way to find an appropriate place to nurse. ‘Heer’ also comes from the word ‘her’ as in ‘her space.’
During their research, Ivana and Filip found that urban public spaces still lack infrastructure that is adapted to the needs of mothers with babies. Designed and tested through several iterations, it has been specifically customised to suit the needs of a nursing mother and her infant to wrap around you when you take a seat. It gently rocks to create the effect of a crib that lulls the baby to sleep. Heer also includes an adjacent bench that provides seating for the persons accompanying the mother, such as another child, partner or friend. Another important advantage, albeit a technical one, is that it is shaped to adjust to different spaces and allows quick installation. It took four years to develop and the end result is well worth the effort. Mothers’ initial reactions to its functionality and design were overwhelmingly positive. We hope to see more of them around!