October, 24 2011 00:00

Posted inEvents

Strolling around the London Design Festival we noticed that many designers dedicated part of their work towards children and toys; they can be described as games inspired by play that can entertain both adults and child. Designers continue to tap into the world for children but things have changed, for example, from the days when Enzo Mari created “Il gioco dei 16 animali” in 1957 (the game of 16 animals). He believed that games are a serious matter, they are not just a simple pastime for children, but a way to understand the world (quote translated from his book “25 modi di piantare un chiodo”, edizione Mondadori). Enzo Mari also adds that he decided to start producing objects that can educate adults, and consequently parents. Only in this way an intelligent adult can have a good relationship with their child and with fellow parents. Today, however, it isn’t always the case that designers consider the educational side of play. Here are a few examples of what we found at the festival. What do you think?
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“Drinklip” by Been Kim
From Korea, “Drinklip” is a simple and multifunctional clip that you can attach to desks or shelves to securely hold drinks or anything else you need to have handy. They can be used indoors or out and can be particularly useful on children’s desks to help them secure their drinking cups while in the classroom or for infants by holding baby bottles and containers safely. Designed by Been Kim, they are a colourful and a smart piece of design.
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“Knelt” by Ubiquity Design Studio
Ubiquity Design Studio's launch range is “Knelt”, an innovation in contemporary children's furniture. “Knelt” is a kneeling stool and desk for children that naturally encourage a neutral posture, which has been found to be crucial during the early years of spinal development and is designed for 3- 10 year olds. It comes in a choice of three veneers: birch, oak and American walnut and is batch produced. The creator, Tim Spence, is a Paediatric Nurse retrained as a product designer.
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“Rocking Toy Zebra” by New Makers
The “Rocking Toy Zebra”, created by design studio Newmakers, is made from high-grade plywood and surfaced with vibrant, digitally printed laminates. It can be easily assembled at home using the tools supplied, and is fully certified for the safety of children. The animals also come in a gorilla and panda shape. The founder of this studio, award winning British designer Daniel Fox, is based in the UK and manufactures his products in South East Asia.
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“Animals” by Move-it Products LTD
A simple pull-toy with a twist, the “Move-it Animals” is a family of animals made up of quality cardboard and meticulously engineered to involve, stimulate and entertain. The three choices of animal shapes, the duck, horse and butterfly, can be clipped on the robust wall frame and then be pulled, scribbled on and also be dismantled by the child. PDF templates for the animals can also be downloaded free from their website offering the opportunity to print out a duck, horse or butterfly onto A4 self-adhesive paper sheets, and stick them on. Move-it products Ltd is a dynamic London based company created in 2011 to provide a commercial platform for a range of innovative, high-performance industrial cardboard products, developed by multi award-winning London design engineer David Graham.
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“Count on me” by Seks
The “Count on me” chair, created by the furniture designer Eva Korae, is not a product dedicated to children, but it can be easily classified as a toy- furniture. Inspired by the abacus, this colourful beaded chair can be an educational pastime for young and old. Eva is based in Cyprus and teaches at the newly established Cyprus University of Technology.
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“Mulch Men” by Arran Evans
The London based Irish designer Arran Evans is the inventor of the “Mulch Men”, little monsters made from a non-toxic biopolymer which can biodegrade in your own back yard. Each character can transform into another as they are made of two separate layers of biopolymer; the outer layer degrades in 2 weeks and the inner layer in 3 months, which allows the transformation to take place. This project explores the problems associated with children’s toys and tries to solve them by creating safe, eco-friendly toys that older children would enjoy playing with.
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“Light Diver” by Yoon Sung-Mun
Korean based designer Yoon Sung-Mun, inspired by the exploration of the deep sea, created the “Light Diver”, a diver-shaped mood lamp that offers light and comfort in your room. The waterproof function makes it ideal to use inside and out as well as in children’s room.
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“Animalask Height Chart” by Polly Westergaard
If you have ever wanted to know if a child is as high as a horse or a lion then this is the height chart for you. Designed to be an educational tool for children it compares the height of the child to all sorts of animals. Made from birch faced plywood or the alternative vinyl sticker (available in a range of colours), both would work in a nursery or a living room. The young designer Polly Westergaard is influenced from both her Danish ancestry and her British roots.
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“Track tile table” by
The “Track Tile” dining table, designed by Paul Mottram and his studio Three Foot Three Design in Nottingham (UK), is a reversible table. On one side an ordinary flat surfaced table, while on the other side tiles are inlaid with track pieces that guide a small motorized train towards each party guest. You can also create a landscape around the tracks with houses, trees and even the London Eye. A great way to entertain both adults and children at the dinner table