The dandy horse is making a comeback in France, thanks to a contemporary redesign by Noir Vif studio founders André Fontes and Guillaume Lehoux. Invented in the mid-nineteenth century as the forerunner of the bicycle, the antique dandy horse has become largely obsolete for adult use. As part of an experiment, Noir Vif designed and developed an adult-sized dandy horse made from molded plywood. Positive public response to those prototypes have prompted the Departmental Domaine of Chamarande to commission a larger dandy horse fleet to be implemented by 2015.
Although the dandy horse is much slower than a regular bicycle, the easy-to-use vehicle is perfect for exploring the Departmental Domaine of Chamarande’s 98-hectare public garden. The low height of the pedal-less dandy horse could also make it suitable for use by the elderly and those with physical or mental disabilities. To give the dandy horse a more user-friendly appearance, Noir Vif crafted the object out of plywood and added features like a leather-wrapped saddle, wide handlebars, and a basket.
The monobloc plywood frame was created using an industrial high-pressure wood molding process. As part of the Domaine’s commitment to sustainable development, the dandy horse is built from maple wood sourced from sustainably managed French forests. All parts that make up the dandy horse were made in France.