a tender WOOD statement
can a wooden character look soft and inspire good feelings?
With Tondotti I wanted to value wood for its sensorial and non-physical features. Wood is the favorite material not only of educators, caregivers, and therapists but also for parents and kids. It is the learning material par excellence and I believe it is not only about the peculiar extraordinary sensations it gives but also about something difficult to explain in words that seems linked to the “natural connection” it is able to establish with humans. In this way tree-hugging does make sense to me and I really felt designing this was a very engaging challenge. I really wanted to translate this emotional, or even spiritual, potential into those products.
I found round shapes were the best to represent this shift I wanted to tell about. Wood is very versatile, it can give very different feelings if it is worked as “hard and squared” rather than as “soft and round” material. The client was a family company, established in 1924 near the Como lake, just starting with its own toy brand, and this was an incredible coincidence because its core technology was wood-turning. Moreover they wanted to lead the company through its fourth generation of family experience and the human value of contributing to such great ambition was a great motivation for me and for the project.
The company know-how had been employed and re-interpreted shifting from the old stereotypes of wooden toys made from wood-turning technology to new and contemporary characters. The traditional assembly limits of round shapes have been passed by digging shapes within each other in order to make them look like melt together, free from their turning axis.
The project has been developed within the DAC – Design For Arts and Crafts scholarship, coordinated by Prof. Venanzio Arquilla, for which I was selected as designer and that was the first encounter with the company.