Tell us about your background. How did you become a designer?
Julia I always wanted to become either an architect or a school teacher. I had a really hard time choosing my bachelor but after hundreds of thoughts… I found it.
Become an Industrial designer allowed me to creatively combine my devotion of children and my passion for design and architecture. Since the beginning of my career I always try to focus my projects into education, and how to relate this into design. There is a huge world behind childhood and I feel ready and motivated to explore it into deep.
Ariadna Since I was a child, I loved to create new things. I remember my favourite games were building games. I spent hours and hours playing ‘‘Lego’’, ‘‘Meccano’’ and ‘‘Connection’’ (the last was my favourite), creating cities or products that my toys could use like tables and chairs, also cars. I loved to do the dresses of my dolls, too. I always need to create my own reality, find solutions because things work better, or how I would like to.
Choose what kind of studies do was easy for me, what I found difficult was choosing what kind of design do, whether product or fashion. Finally I chose industrial design engineer degree because it seems to me a kind of design more complete that give rise to more innovation. Then I have developed a passion for all other types of design: graphic, interior, fashion,… because I found out that the design methodology to achieve a good result is always the same. I love the design in every way.
Why you design products for children?
Julia I really think that childhood is one of the most or the most important phase of life. This is when children develop themselves and shape their own personalities. We, as an adults, tend to forget the importance of being a child, play around and enjoy without prejudices. I truly believe that as a designer and educator passionate I have the responsibility to change this trend of treating children as human becomings instead of real human beings.I really want to push all the benefits that design could bring to children’s development and therfore the benefits that children could bring to the society.
Ariadna For me, the design should influence in the development of society, changing it, getting it better every day. The design should contribute to make people happier and more conscious. And what better way to change the society that starting from the young people?
What was your inspiration for your inclusive toys for kids?
Julia From conceptual point of view, the idea of creating inclusive toys comes from a child who suffers palsy cerebral. I was working in a summer camp and he was one of the children among many other ordinary kids. His smile and energy to do not miss any activity inspired me so much. His courage and happiness really made my days. I admire him so much for his bravery and positivism. When I had to decide my Bachelor thesis I did not hesitate on doing something for him. I suggested to my colleague Ariadna Lopez to work on it together, as we share this passion for “social projects”. We decided to create an inclusive toy which allows any children with disabilities to play together with ordinary kids. Luckily we had the chance to develop the product with ESCLAT an association for people with palsy cerebral.
As we work with this assoaciation, we could test the product with real users and also receive feedback from doctors, educators and physiotherapists. This was what inspired us in terms of ergonomics, colours and functionality.
Ariadna With Julia, we decided to do an inclusive toy due the relationship Julia had with a child with cerebral palsy who had very little mobility. Julia wanted the child could play, not play by rehabilitation, but simply by having fun. Together we found very interesting to make a toy that was for both audiences, children with and without disabilities, and with the support of the foundation ESCLAT, pro people with cerebral palsy, we could make the project run with real users.
To design the shape and the playing pattern of Dudum we were inspired by users. We went to stay with them several days analyzing their moves, abilities, interests, .. and then we create the gameplay and the shape of the pieces.
Are there other products that you produce specifically for children?
Julia Currently I am writing my Master thesis about urban playgrounds and the importance of them to make a city more liveable for everybody. I am still on the theoretic phase but I want to achieve a way to involve children into the design process of their own city/playgrounds.
Ariadna Not for the moment. But at some point I would like to design more toys that contribute to make happier the life of children (having a disability or not).
If you look into a crystal ball and predict your future as a designer: what children’s product would you like to design next?
Julia Something which includes technology and social media,(as we cannot forget that we are in the age of digital) but without forgetting the essential part of playing. I consider active movement and children interaction an essential part of any children object. Technology can not be the excuse to create sedentary games.
Ariadna I don’t know exactly how would be the product I design next, but I would design something (it could be a game) to teach the kids to manage their emotions.