The project “Your shelter” was one of 12 nominees of a Prix Émile Hermès Design Competition 2016.
The set that we have designed allow children to build their own hideaways. It consists of a trolley, huge modular textile, 36 wooden connectors of 4 different types, 12 sticks and a rope.The aim of the project is to awaken children’s creativity in the mean of space. There are 100 of ways to build shelter’s with this set, to put the textiles together or to just play with the sticks or the connectors. But there is no instruction and thus no correct or wrong way to play with it. Children love to build there own shelters, their hideaways and be little architects and builders, but most of the toys in this sector teach how to build in one correct way, using an instruction and not one’s imagination.
Going back in our memories we have realized that shelters, any kind of shelters, if it’s a tree house, if it’s the space under the dining table, or a big cardboard box from the dish washer, make a magical fascination on children. Why? Perhaps, because, they suite more their scale, perhaps, because it’s their first kind of private spot, where they can make their own rules and where only the people are allowed to enter, that they want to enter. The roof over ones head seems to be a natural need that shows up very early in the development of a person. As in our projects nomadic lifestyle plays an important role, we kind of scaled down some of our projects and made them children friendly. The outcome is a transportation box on wheels, that consistas of a modular textile, wooden connectors and sticks, to use as structure and a thick cord. There doesn’t exist a kind of instruction how the toy works, also there is no plan, how many different kinds of shelters one is able to build. You can start by placing sticks in the holes on the top of the wagon and then spontanously continue or by making a careful plan what you want to build first…. You can make your other belongings a part of the game, or you can attch your shelter to chairs and tables in your room. Our purpose was to design the foundation of a game. All you need is your fascination and time. Children shall find out by themselves how and what they want to do with this toy. It takes a while to find out , but because of so many possibilites it does never get boring.
BOX ON WHEELS: The aim was to design something, that doesn’t look too alien, and that it has some funny elements and a kind of magical touch. The waggon is a transport box, where one can put besides the connectors and textiles also other toys and treasures inside. One cannot drive it like a car. In an ecological sense we wanted to avoid a too strong connotation with individual transportation.
TEXTILE: We have designed the textile with a simple pattern and added some plant like decorative elements. The plant or in this case especially the leaf is an important symbol of hiding, of camouflage. The aim for the pattern was to design it in colurs and style, that it works attractive on children as well as on grown ups. The textile is designed in a modular system out of triangels and squares. These can be put together in one big piece or used separately. They are connected by velcro fasteners. After research we found that this is the best way for small children to make connections on their own. This velcro fasteners are used to hod textile together or to attach textile to the stick (build structure). The textile does not have to fit wooden structure perfectly, it can have a character of sponanteuosly children-build shelter.
WOODEN CONNECTORS: The wooden connectors have two functions. On the one hand as their name says they are there to fulfill the function of making connections for tent like structures. On the other hand they are tetris inspired and even very small children, as you see on the pictures are interested in the geometric structures and the wholes and find out, how the pieces work together. One can build small wooden tructures out of it. The connectors fulfill the function as toy in toy.
STICKS: The round wooden dowels are made in two lengths 100cm and 50cm. This module works well with the textile. The sticks have a cut in the front, so it’s easy to put them into the connectors and they hold well.
To start building the schelter they shell be placed in the holes on the top of the wagon or simply connected with each other with the use of connectors.
CORD: We have put a cord inside, as a cord is a basic tool, that one needs to put things together, and to fix the wooden sticks on top of the waggon.
Nominee Prix Émile Hermès 2016 Design Award
materials: pine and birch wood, textile