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Ben van Berkel on the chair for children Doraff, design Ben van Berkel/UNStudio 2020, Alessi.

| Designbest editorial staff


rom a little mechanical workshop in 1921, it turned itself into a company tirelessly in search of new creative languages focused on the cultural, aesthetic and functional quality of its industrial production. It has made thousands of objects, many of which have become icons of contemporary design, and has called upon the indisputable masters of Italian and international design to collaborate with them. One year away from celebrating its 100th anniversary, it presents a cheerful and joyous project dedicated to children.


  • What it is  Doraff, the new multifunctional chair designed for little ones by Alessi.
  • What makes it special  Doraff – its names is the combination of dog and giraffe— is an object for children with versatile functionality because it is a chair, table and also a joyous presence in the home. In order to transform it from a dog into a giraffe, it just needs to be turned. A piece of designer décor and at the same time an object of affection to be played with, it is a hybrid object that stimulates the imagination of our little ones.
  • How it is made  Doraff, the dog-giraffe with its rounded corners and childproof solidity, is made in a light, 100% recyclable thermoplastic resin (polyethylene)— an invitation to continually pay greater attention to the environment and product sustainability. Doraff is available in three colors loved by children: yellow, red and blue.
  • Whose idea it is  Doraff is an idea of Ben van Berkel, the Dutch architect who, together with Caroline Bos, founded UNStudio (United Network Studio, a network of specialists in the architecture, urban development and infrastructure sectors), which has contributed to the creation of Doraff—the first designer project for children by van Berkel. His most well-known works include the Karbouw offices, the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam and the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart. A professor at numerous international universities, he recently took the place of Kenzo Tange as Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. For Alessi he has designed the Ribbon bottleracks, the Alba truffle shaver and the Giro cutlery set—to which the Pappa set for children will be added this year.
  • We chose it because…  Doraff can be ridden and flipped over; it can be a chair and a table for drawing or having a snack; and it can be an imaginary friend that takes you to faraway places with dragons and castles or to distant planets. It is also an indestructible friend that comes out safe and sound from every battle, even when ambushed by brothers or sisters. And for us parents it is a blessing because we neither have to worry for the children hurting themselves nor for them breaking their little friend.



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