Can light be used only for illumination? What if it could become a means of transmitting information? Is it possible to “listen” to light? Smusic is the first toy that employs the interaction with light to produce sound. The toy has been developed with the light technology company Slux and our network of partners .
FLIGHT OF FANCY
CAN PLASTIC AND BAMBOO FLY TOGETHER?
This has been the challenge of the Mini-Vehicles collection by Hape. Bamboo is said to be “the wood of the future” because it grows really fast, just like giant grass. And its fibers, put together, are as strong as wood. The point is: making bamboo part of a mass production is not an easy task because the natural shape is very variable. This is why to design integrating such element needs to set (and select in production) certain diameters so plastic can really be part of it. This is the technical challenge and the result is a collection that stands far from plastic vehicles as usual.
The toy plane came before the Mini Helicopter and the design process took start from the heritage of the Mini Vehicles collection. This is a set of vehicles that is in between a retro and sporty look. I wanted to make the mini plane be of course part of the family but at the same time I wanted to streamline it and make it look dynamic.
The plastic top part is the one of wings and top of the airplane body, the bottom part supports wheels and exhaust pipes. The two perfectly fit together and are connected through holes in the bamboo with plastic pins.The 3D modeling was very fun and at the same was a very technical task because I had to make sure that parts would fit and get out of the mold effortlessly thanks to draft angles.
Client: Hape International
FLIGHT OF FANCY
CAN PLASTIC AND BAMBOO FLY TOGETHER?
This has been the challenge of the Mini-Vehicles collection by Hape. Bamboo is said to be “the wood of the future” because it grows really fast, just like giant grass. And its fibers, put together, are as strong as wood. The point is: working it is not an easy business because the cylindrical shape is very variable, so why not to select the diameter of sticks in order to use it for mass production? This is what this collection is about and it was very exciting to ride on the challenge of making bamboo and plastic work together.
There are many little stories about the design of this toy. One of these is that when I was asked to design an helicopter for this collection I realized that I literally falled in love with helicopters, especially the small ones with a big cabin and an essential structure that make them look like flyes. I was particularly inspired by mosquito helicopters so I wanted the toy helicopter to grab this imaginary and at the same time look dynamic and organic with bamboo.
The top plastic part represents the engine, part of the tail, a good part of the cabin and the support for the blades, the bottom part supports the rest of the cabin and the three wheels. As for the Mini Plane the 3D modeling was very fun and at the same was a very technical task because I had to make sure that parts would fit and get out of the mold effortlessly thanks to draft angles.
Client: Hape International
virtual made physical
has really digital become the “new standard” for storing?
It is a matter of fact that words like “folder” or “archive”, or even verbs like “drag”, “send”, and so on.. have broadened their original meaning to the digital world. There was a time when mouses did not have right-bottons and did not have the power to create folders, stores did not sell apps but milk and we were dragging sleds instead of icons.
What Zygmunt Bauman calls the “liquid world” seems suddenly make sense while I witness this process of virtualization of the physical world. Things that make sense in our life are more and more growing in number and complexity, and they also has to flow fast. This is why making things virtual is kind of handy. Until the point we realize that we keep spending more and more time in virtual spaces, rather than real, and this can be also frustrating if the escape from reality is not the intention.
New Folder turns the process the other way around, making concrete something typically peculiar of a virtual interface. Virtual and real issues contaminate each other in one object. The folder is back an object that is touchable and visible into the real world, yet light and transparent. In fact its body is made of PMMA and it is portraying a “new folder” icon with a 4 colours silk-screen printing. As a monitor does, the 3 folder formats (A4, A3 and A2) give room to a different number of pixels, making the printed image sharper with growing dimensions.
Client: Lettera G
LIKE CATS AND DOGS
CAN A BOOKSHELF INSPIRE care and AFFECTION?
When I think at most of the bookshelves and magazine rack I find that many of them try to integrate and thus be versatile to many diverse interiors. This makes most of the times them not-intrusive, sometimes minimal, very often neutral. The idea is “the content is what matters”. Ok, but what about the books and magazines we do not want to put in that whole mass of pages remained abandoned for years? Where to keep those special pages close? And how can we revert the concept that a bookshelf is like one another?
Well, Home Pets were born to take care of people’s most beloved books and magazines. They do not “live in the house” but literally “live the house” because they can be easily moved around to be placed where you need them to be. Beside the couch they give company while watching TV and quietly whisper “read.. read.. read…” As bedside cabinets they seem to play at “wife and husband” while they are at the opposite sides of the bed. Despite real pets they are very docile, they do not foul, do not eat the carpets and even do not scratch the furniture. Instead they take care of those precious pages within the fluorescent folds of their acrylic evanescent coats.
The sentimental dynamics is purposed to make the product grow in personal relation with the customer, thus increasing the lifecycle of the product and resulting in a more sustainable product. Whenever Home Pets will need to be recycled (and I hope users will be more inclined to recover them rather than dismiss) the design for disassembly will help to separate each different material that have been used, plastics from metals, with mechanical joints that can be easily removed.
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE CITY
what would kids do if we give the chance to build their own city?
Metroquadro is a cross-category toy, between a free composition toy and a city planning game with a strong focus on developing cooperative design and relational skills. We keep listening “there is so much to learn from kids..”. Well, this toy gives kids the chance to build their own ideal city and adults to witness kids doing it. Metroquadro means “Square Meter” in italian, and within this each player can take part actively in the construction, sometimes individually, sometimes participating with other players, meeting not only other’s needs but also their own power to influence the environment, dealing with potential effects of their choices on others, deciding where green will be, integrated with architecture or in green areas.
It can be played by 1 to 4 kids 7 years old and up, with growing levels of construction possibilities and interaction rates. Each game starts from the blank cotton towel, placing felt green areas. Usually kids first build their own house, just the way they like it: short, tall, square, with garden in the middle, on the top, all around.. and so on. Then they begin to connect with the environment, and of course with other players by placing roads and cooperating in the construction of common-purpose buildings (e.g. museum, hospital, railway station, etc..).
The design of the blocks has the objective of representing the look of contemporary buildings and skyscrapers. Each block has precise proportions and modularity rules so they can interact with each other in the composition, sometimes even stack with each other, and keep a constant scale rate. So once the city is built kids can experience an immersive view of the city, feeling like in an helicopter, feeling big, powerful, proud of what they did.
A TOY in daily life
how can we make adults love toys and even play with them?
When I think at the stereotype of a “toy” I see colourful, cute, character-like objects. Something I would probably define even “childish” or “kiddy”. Of course adults love them and most find them even attractive, but what happens when guests are coming home? Well, it looks like adults are more likely to hide toys, considering them something like ad “educational device”, not integrated with the furniture, certainly not something that is nice to show.
But why is that so important for a toy to be attractive for adults too? First, think about the last time you gave yourself a chance to play and, surprisingly, thought “Hey, that’s fun!”. Well, this is probably because we are said that “adults have to work, not to play”. So sometimes adults really forget about playing for ages, and, even worse, play itself is even considered something “childish”. Second, if adults are not willing to play, what about the extra learning-value of kids playing with adults?
Shanghai is a hybrid object that changes its function depending on the intention of the user. As a toy it is a traditional chinese game, very easy rules, it requires concentration and very good fine motor skills. When it is not played, its wooden ring allows to compose its sticks to form a furniture accessory similar to a bunch of flowers. It comes in two colour palettes, a warm and a cold one.
PLANTING GREEN AWARENESS
CAN A toy INSTILL NATURE-FRIENDLY ACTIONS?
Tic Tac Tree is a wooden toy in which the traditional tic tac toe game has been taken as playing platform to achieve the ambitious goal of instilling environmental consciousness to kids.
The old cross and circle have been replaced by pins of 2 different tones of green, representing trees. The old grid has been laser printed on the wooden hill that serves as a board.
The physical action of planting trees is emphasized by the fact that the winner is the player that makes the row of course, but also the one that has planted more trees on the hill-shaped board.
taste for dexterity
japanese and french did it.. so why can’t we?
In the 16th century French invented the Bilboquet (literally ball with little tree) and soon after Japanese Kendama came. We are not sure about who really invented it first. What we care about is: what would it have happened if Italians made their own version too?
Well, Bigusto can be the delight of kids and adults as well, but not for long.. It looks like an icecream, but behind a chocolate and srawberry ball hides the challenge. Originally bilboquet has one ball with a hole and placing the pin in the hole can be a very tough challenge. But what if we have 2 balls connected with each other and we also have magnets?
The game provides the chance to exercise on 8 different moves: ball in the cone, ball over the other one, and so on.. Kids and adults can start from the easiest and gradually go to more complex ones, the ones that exploit the power of magnets, where a very good control of the cone and the ball is not easy to reach. This lets the game be played at different levels, and this makes it not only more inclusive and less frustrating at the beginning, but also very engaging long in time.
how can a toy be magic as nature?
I have always been stunned by the beauty and perfection of a natural (and vital) process like photosynthesis. The natural pigment that allows plants to get energy from the sun during the day is called chlorophyll, and through it carbon dioxide is stored and transformed into oxygen.
I tryed to embody this magic into a toy and the domino dots seemed perfectly matching the image. This time nature was really by my side because this is a toy that actually needs to stay out of the cabinet to work properly, it asks to be shown as part of the house, or even better behind a window.
Usually domino for kids tend to attract kids with characters and colours, but this time the surprise was also that nature inspired also an extra performance of this domino game, not only in the meaning but in the play value. In fact this domino allows kids to play in the dark, which is something I really used to enjoy when I was a kid.