The senior product developer of the Bugaboo Fox tells us more about this brand-new sustainable pushchair
Absolutely Mama: How many years did it take to develop the Bugaboo Fox?
Marco Nieuwenhuizen: The design process began three years ago. The first stage was to understand what we wanted from the product, how it would function and what we wanted it to achieve. We then started discussing concepts and making prototypes. Once we had decided upon the rough dimensions of the pushchair we began our rigorous testing process. We have very high standards when it comes to quality, functionality and ease of use; each prototype must pass these crucial steps in order to continue development. Only when we were completely satisfied with the test results did the Bugaboo Fox became a finished product. Additional testing also takes place before it is released for production to ensure it will be another reliable pushchair.
AM: What makes it innovative?
MN: A big innovation and design leap for us has been creating a pushchair in which all play is removed from the frame. This has been achieved by adding suspension to the central joint, making it easier for the parent to manoeuvre the pushchair without sacrificing on comfort for themselves or their child. Another notable development is that it’s a very strong and sturdy pushchair, but only weighs 9.9kg.
AM: Were there any major hurdles you had to overcome?
MN: The biggest challenge was removing the play from the central joint and seat frame, which is used for folding and unfolding and makes all the different seat positions possible. It is a very complex system that needs to function well on comfort and suspension. There was a lot of tweaking involved within the design process and it took us a long time to get it perfect. If you remove the play you are in danger of sacrificing comfort, but by adding things like rear suspension and new wheels we were able to remove all play without affecting this.
Another challenge was creating a high seat that can carry a child of up to 17kg. We had to perfectly balance the dimensions of the stroller to make sure it was completely safe and stable.
AM: What is your favourite feature?
MN: My personal favourite feature is the central button that allows parents to fold and unfold the pushchair without having to bend over. By improving this part we have made it more practical for parents in lots of different circumstances, such as when they need to unfold the pushchair with one hand while holding their infant securely in the other.
AM: How can the Bugaboo Fox be strong and sturdy, but also light?
MN: To get the Bugaboo Fox to weigh just 9.9kg we used the same technologies in the aluminum tubing that are applied in marine and aviation applications. Creating a pushchair that is sturdy and lightweight is down to a combination of clever engineering and design.
AM: What materials are used to make the pushchair so light?
MN: It’s a balance between strong, long-lasting materials like polyamide where they are required (like the central joint) and lighter materials in other places. For some parts we use polypropylene, which is lightweight and recyclable.
AM: How did you design the backbone part of the pushchair?
MN: The backbone has two purposes: to provide comfort for the child and to allow parents to refresh their pushchair. The ergonomic shape and partly flexible material makes the seat fit with the shape of the child, while still providing support. We have designed the pushchair to allow the fabrics to be easily separated from the backbone so parents can easily switch their pushchair fabrics for a new colour or completely refresh when they have a new baby.
AM: How does the pushchair answer the needs of the modern parent?
MN: For me, it’s about ease. Parents have a lot to juggle and they can use the Bugaboo Fox with just one hand, making it easier for them to be spontaneous and to avoid compromising their existing lifestyle. In addition, parents are becoming more and more aware of the environment and want to make better choices. The Bugaboo Fox is designed to be a long-lasting, serviceable pushchair, with replaceable parts that can be recycled. Parents are able to style the stroller however they want, using mix-and-match parts and fabrics made from recycled materials.
AM: What makes it sustainable?
MN: The Bugaboo Fox takes our philosophy of creating a long-lasting pushchair to the next level. By separating the hardware from soft parts and fabrics, we’ve created a pushchair that can be easily serviced and repaired to extend its life cycle. The pushchair has a lower environmental impact because we use durable materials for the parts that need to last and materials that can be recycled for the parts that are subject to more wear and tear. In addition, we produced the fabrics from recycled PET bottles.
AM: Why use the PET bottles?
MN: We’ve always created long-lasting products, but we wanted to take the next step when it comes to sustainability. That includes our serviceable, modular design, but also making sure the replaceable parts are sustainable, too. We see that parents like to replace their fabrics, so by creating them from recycled PET bottles it further reduces their environmental impact.