Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Respect for the Waste Collectors (on the Road to EU)

This photo is of a shelf with toys from Eindhoven, Netherlands shop. I found it very interesting that two out of three best European toy brands, Playmobil and Lego, choose to include waste collectors in their palette.

Like the third one—Papo—these two also feature toys with other backgrounds, from nature-orinted, to inspired by history or science-fiction. But I'm impressed by the inclusion of everyday professions, and women and children as characters, which enables the kids who play with them much wider educational benefits.

A long time ago (around 1979 – when I was five) you could buy similar toys in Macedonia too: Play-BIG, the vanished competitor of Playmobil. They had similar approach, I remember having a road worker with pike and cone, and fluorescent overall. I consider importing such egalitarian toys for the children of Macedonia a matter of national interest. They have had enough romantic-militaristic indoctrination by the cowboys-Indians-knights-army men toy establishment (mostly Chinese copies of American sets).

Dutch Design Week Highligts

Dutch Design Week is an annual event taking place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with a packed activity schedule at various locations in the city (20-28.10.2007), as well as some cars driving around with funny sculptures on top of them.

Judging from several of DDW's deliverables, it seems to me that the message was that design should be considered an integral part of innovation. Such implications included a city re-design competition initiated by the municipality, and Philips' presentations on future buildings equipped with built-in recycling system similar in function to the stillsuits of Dune and e-tattoos.

Stumbling upon the huge exhibition space in former industrial complex called Strijp S was quite lucky coincidence, enabling me to enjoy various design solutions, from a chamber cinema for animations, to quite toys and chairs with style, to new models of cars and cool t-shirts.

Rosalie BakThe designers' collective Groene Honden (Green Dogs) occupied one of the most vibrant and interesting spaces in the exhibition. The group features upstarts who've teamed up to combine their creative forces and youthful optimism. For instance, take Ms. Rosalie Bak (pictured), a designer who uses inspiration from medicine and anatomy to create home-bound items which look and feel great, from dolls made of bandages and cotton, to bottles and vessels resembling human organs.

Taking a sip from a heart-shaped bottle must be a far cry from the heart-shaped box of Nirvana fame, since the bottle is not only anatomically correct - as opposed to overly stylized, and radiates fresh, upbeat vibes associated with the welcoming future of scientific progress.