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The Cradle Bed

The Cradle Bed (2017) condenses into one piece of furniture everything that Huis Perrekes, which offers tailored living, care, and support for people with dementia, stands for. It is a piece of furniture that connects people in a very physical and sensory way in a secure environment. The Cradle Bed closes the circle of life, the beginning, and the end. As adults, we have lost the feeling of being cradled. NU architecture studio believes that the act of cradling has a beneficial and comforting effect on both the one cradling and the one being cradled.


The Cradle Bed is the result of a long development process in close cooperation with Huis Perrekes. It was not designed as a medical instrument or as a high-tech movement device with a friendly design. It was conceived as a precise micro-architecture, creating a safe environment, a small and intimate universe, like the experience world of people with dementia in an advanced stage of the disease.

During several trials at House Perrekes, we looked for the right rhythm and the right swing movement: longitudinal swing, sideways swing, suspension swing. We investigated which rhythm of swing brings comfort and tranquility. Finding the right geometric curvature for this is a matter of millimeters. Because it can be frightening to step into or wake up in a rocking or not quite stable bed, we also developed a mechanical lever that allows the bed to gradually change to a fixed bed firmly on the ground. The cradle bed is made of pine plywood, a modest material, like Arte Povera. The focus of the design is therefore explicitly not on materiality but on the connecting moment of cradling itself.


The Cradle Bed is used in Huis Perrekes as a daybed where one can unwind in the proximity of the other residents and to fall asleep at night. The person rocking communicates their attention and closeness through the gently rocking motion of the bed. The sleeping or resting person feels the gentle rocking and knows he or she is not alone. The rhythmic rocking gives calmness and moves the body slightly, causing pressure points on the body to move.

The Cradle Bed can be used to make the last phase of life as humane and comfortable as possible for all involved. The act of cradling is most powerful when a loved one says goodbye to someone at the end of their life in the Cradle Bed, while cradling. The Cradle Bed then becomes a comforting piece of furniture that, through the act of cradling, makes a connection between those who are sitting vigil and those who pass away and gives meaning to how we are here in this world as human beings.


Developed in close collaboration with Huis Perrekes