Meet Athina Doukati and Jose Navarro, toy designer of the the wandering workshop


Can you describe your approach to design for kids?

“Imagination in play” is the key concept with regard to our approach to design for kids. We focus on designing open-ended toys that stimulate creative play and engage children in creating their own stories. Our toys’ design is minimalistic, leaving space for children’s imagination to flourish. We elaborate high-quality materials that make our toys last and accompany children over the years. We chose sustainability and quality over quantity. Therefore, we elaborate high-quality, hand-crafted wooden toys that are meant to be treasured.



Tell us how you put yourself in the mind of the user. What kind of research methods do you use when you’re starting a new project?

Starting a new project is a rather spontaneous creative process that stems from our urge to create. We do not center on market research, neither do we follow the trends. We consider play to be a process that needs not to be defined under those terms. We rather create wooden toys with an artistic, timeless attribute that are made to last. We put the child in the center of the creative process by providing high-quality, safe toys that are made with an extra attention to detail.



How do you prototype your ideas? How do you know when you’ve got it right?

The process of designing a new toy requires experimentation with an initial idea that inspires us, with forms, colours, and practical parameters with regard to the process of a 100% hand-made production.

We start with sketches on papers, working on the form and proportions. Once we reach a result that satisfies us, we move on experimenting with three dimensions on wood and technical solutions. The study of the colour is the last step and a very demanding one. We consider our colour palette to be a strong element of our branding.

We know when we’ve got it right. It is the moment in which both of us are satisfied, feeling that nothing needs to be changed, looking at the new toy and smiling. It is the moment when we welcome a new toy in our collection.


Does your philosophy of suitable design for kids also have an educational mandate?

We believe that play is a highly educational process for the child that contributes to the development, not only of fine motor and cognitive skills but also permits a creative exploration, interpretation and understanding of the world.  Therefore, the educational factor is present constantly while playing. We focus on designing toys that encourage the child to assume an active role in the play. Therefore, we do not offer a finished toy. We use wooden joints instead of screws or glue and the child is engaged in assembling the toy from the very first moment. Our minimalistic design leaves space for the child to explore, experiment, interpret the geometric forms and even reinterpret the toy. It is beautiful to see how the triangular sail of a little boat can be transformed into a wave in the hands of a child.


What are you currently working on and why?

We are currently working on new toys and experimenting with even more minimalistic forms and designs and new materials as well. It is a natural process of evolving and creating a more and more varied collection of “Toys made of Dreams”.

Get in touch with Athina Doukati and Jose Navarro via: