Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into designing creative wooden toys for kids?
Since I started Industrial Design University I have been designing children’s toys. Teachers proposed a lot of different assignments in class, but every time it was possible I ended up making some product for kids.
At the end of my career, I based my thesis work on a social design academic research about sexism in the Uruguayan toys industry in 2014. The BILU Toys project was born as a result of that research.
I started making products for children because I comprehend its essential role in people development. It is used to understand the reality around us, to build our personality and subjectivity, as well as to develop cognitive and social skills. I realized how powerful toys are and, because of that, I want to encourage future generations to be more creative and open minded in the pursuit of their aims.
What was your inspiration for your BILU toys?
I got inspired by the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres García, one of the greatest art figures of the beginning of the 20th century and considered the father of Universal Constructivism. During the avantgarde Torres García was pioneer in Uruguayan toy design, creating his own brand ‘Aladdin Toys’. The geometric and simplicity of Clan shapes are inspired by this great artist.
Why are the bilu toys especially suited for children?
It is because we involve kids in every step of the design thinking process. Using a codesign methodology, we ensure arriving to solutions which effectively meet their needs and expectations. We work with all different users of the product, involving a multi talented team of teachers, educators, psychologists, sociologists, and designers as well as kids and parents.
Meaningful design for kids – what does that mean for you?
As Bruno Munari said in How objects are born?, it is the toy designers responsibility to give kids the possibility to develop a flexible and dynamic mind. A person with this kind of skills will find it easier to cope with life, solve problems, find new alternatives and it would be more flexible and open minded with what it is unknown or different.
What toys did you play with as a child? Did you have a favorite toy?
I played with lots of toys during my childhood, but I can remember clearly a wooden construction set. The toy was a very simple coloured wooden blocks kit, with doors, columns and windows for city construction. I spent hours creating new buildings and scenarios.
Do you feel there is a toy that every child should have (also by other designers and manufacturers)?
What toy do you think is a completely superfluous?
To my way of thinking, you can learn from every little thing that happens to you or from every object you have contact with. So, for better or worse, everything is teaching us something if we are able to observe it close enough.