Animals – toys of wood by Floris Hover


Tell us about your background.  How did you become a designer?

My name is Floris Hovers (1976) I live and work in Raamsdonkveer (NL), where I also grew up. After a foundation course in construction engineering and following a study in advertising and presentation techniques, I graduated in 2004 from the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2006 he founded his own design studio and in 2011 was awarded the Sanoma Woonaward (Livingaward) ‘Young Talent’. As a lecturer I was associated with vocational training in Fine Arts at AKV/St. Joost, specializing in Spatial Design, in the period 2009–2012. In addition I regularly gives readings and guest lectures both at home and abroad. As a child I always was making things by myself because I had my personal idea about how things must be ;-)

Why you design toys for children?

In first instance because I like toys and I hate to be a grown up person. The products I design are not only special for children but also for grown up people that are forgot that they were a child! For me personally it is also a way to ‘disappear’ from this world and found the essence of form and color.

What was your inspiration for your new wooden animals?

The essence of form and color, the Attractive and Recognizability of animals for most people

Do you have children of your own?

YES!!!! Katrijn (9) Ronja (7) Abel (5) Lieske (3) I am very rich.

If so, how do they respond to your product/your products?

The insight begins that they realize that their daddy has a very nice profession/job ;-) They are always the first to see and approve.

Suitable design for kids – what does that mean for you?

Designing toys that ‘are not finished’, is perhaps the biggest challenge. That way there is enough room to fill in things yourself. For other objects that is probably important as well. It is good to learn children but it is not good to tame them! so there must be space for the imagination.

A few personal questions at the end: What toys did you play with as a child? Did you have a favorite toy?

The environment I grew up in serves as a constant source of inspiration. My father’s concrete production plant with all its machinery and cranes, the farms, the tractors and trailers used by the water council for maintenance to the polders, the sand pits, the nearby motorway and the river Donge.

As a child I would imitate things and interpret them in my own manner. If there was a boat dredging along the river close to my home, I would act that out in the evening, on a wooden pallet in a large puddle and with a shovel. Now playing means to me to bring a child’s world back into an adult’s, in such a manner that others recognize it as well.

And subsequently: What toy do you think is a completely superfluous?

For me personally too many to mention ;-) but if children can play with it on there own way its o.k. Smart phones and tablets are the superfluous things but unfortunately the world apparently asks for it……

If you look into a crystal ball and predict your future as a designer: what children’s product would you like to design next?

I have not a special product that I want to design in future. Things must naturally arise. I hope that my work continues to be appreciated and understood.


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All credits of the photo’s are studio Floris Hovers made by Mieke Billekens