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April 4, 2005

the toy problem

I'm as happy as anyone about the new crop of baby stuff that looks like it came from Kartell. But it's not just the seamless integration of kid items into the well-designed home that I'm after, it's stuff that looks good and that kids like (almost) as much as the rococo plastic monstrosities. In some ways, this streamlining of the kid's environment feels like a futile attempt to shoe-horn a child into a parents' universe. I'm still waiting for my kid to play with the design-award winners that are cluttering our shelves, along with all the plastic. I mean, these things look fabulous and all, but they don't exactly inspire play.

What I really wish is that there were some glimmer of good design in the mainstream American toy world...some balance to counter the seven-layer-cake wrought by the dueling mandates for branding and enrichment. Has anyone studied the effects of "educational" slot machines on 6 month olds? Why does it seem like all the other countries in the world maintain reverence for the good old days of hand-hewn wooden playthings? Perhaps they just don't export their embarrassments? Or are all toy boxes in Scandinavia really neatly stacked with this stuff instead of overflowing with this stuff?

by rebecca at 8:56 AM
in products


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