Valeria Arnaoutou | ReBUILD IT

Every child creates an imaginary world, inhabited by heroes, friends and enemies. These roles, as well as the image and form of the imaginary world itself, are mostly drawn by games and toys played during early childhood years.

I strongly believe that tomorrow’s world is determined by the shaping of today’s children’s forming mentality. That’s why I decided to focus on designing a toy for children, trying to embed through the act of playing, core values of contemporary design such as sustainability, up-cycling, creative thinking and the importance of hands on activity.

My project idea is to create a modular toy for children between three and five years old, which will include parts of different ‘unwanted’ furniture pieces. The idea of using waste matter as a core aspect of the toy was triggered by the fact that ‘furniture is the number one least-recycled object in a household; thus 9.8 million tons of furniture ends up in landfills annually’.

The modular aspect of the game will provide unlimited possible matches, triggering the child’s creativity, imagination and problem solving skills. By creating unique personal designs, the child will not only practice manual creativity, which is in the verge of disappearing in the current moment, but will also become engaged with concepts of up-cycling and sustainability which lie at the center of the toy’s philosophy.

The toy will be part of a kit which will constitute of a story book, the furniture pieces and a paint set. The book will provide with a short story which will gently lead the child into the game through its heroes and after constructing the furniture the child will be able to paint the pieces, going through a process of up cycling.

My ambition is that this toy design will introduce children both subconsciously and consciously to a mentality of reusing and repurposing, through practically making, based on creative intuition.