Ta Bo – creative wooden toys for kids by Amparo M Conde

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

Well, my story about how I become a designer is not really glorious, I had finished my high school and I did not know what to do at all, the public offer in technical studies was not huge, and all of them were about health, administration or mechanics, nothing interesting for me… except one, Diseño y Producción Editorial (design and editorial production) I had no idea what was this about, but sounds better than the others. That is the way I discovered Design, after two years studying Graphic Design and being inside the design field, I decided that Industrial design was more complete, the range of options was greater, so I continue my studies in that field, and was the best decision ever. Now I work in both fields and it’s something that gives me so much professionally.

What was your inspiration for your creative toy for kids Ta-Bo?

History of design was one of my favorites subjects, my teacher was a smart man with lot of knowledge about the biggest designers. I learned a lot about Bauhaus and the designs they made, among other things the precious and the useful wooden toys. At that moment my nephew was just starting to walk, and I wanted to design something for him, something he could use in different ways, to walk and interact with it in different ways. It was a process of study on walkers, wooden toys and puzzles, and especially a lot of inspiration with the colors and shapes of the bauhaus toys. Now I can say that my two nephews have learned how to walk with it, and they still using it as chair, carriage and blackboard.

Why is your Ta-Bo especially suited for children as a toy?

As I said, the process of the design was a complete study about this kind of toys. I was looking for not only a simple toy, but also a product which could interact with the children at home. Thanks to the thickness of the wood and the construction technique used, it makes the piece a robust element in which even an adult can sit without breaking. The simplicity of the shapes, the natural wood and colors makes it an element that does not stand out for being striking but that does not pass unnoticed and integrates perfectly in the harmony of the rest of the furniture in the children’s room.

Meaningfuldesign for kids – what does that mean for you?

Toy design seems to me a huge field of opportunities. The investment that is made not only in toys, but in children’s products in general seems to me higher than in other types of products, which greatly helps the development and research of new forms, materials and utilities. I am a fan of wooden toys, for its simplicity and functionality, but we can not stagnate there either. The great current versatility of materials and technology opens up a huge range of possibilities to develop toys and children’s products according to the new current lifestyle.

For me, the design of toys, not for the moment, but in the future, I would like to mean my livelihood. As I said before, it’s something that I would like to turn into my profession, and could live from it.

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

One of my favorite toys was one that my grandfather made, which was not mine, I inherited from my older cousins. He was a teacher of mathematics at the institute, but when he retired he dedicated himself to making wooden furniture in a small workshop that was set up at home. The toy was basically a wooden cart, with a plastic horse in front, it had pedals like those of a tricycle, and with a chain you directed it. It was a horse-drawn carriage like the ancients. It was amazing, he was going up and down the street with it, people were freaking when they saw it. It was something unique that was not sold in any store. (I have a photo if you want)

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

I think that in the sight of an adult, there are a lot of superfluous toys (I have a few in mind). But if we talk about a children’s toy, the end user is a child, and a child’s mind will interact with the toys, probably in an unexpected way. In my opinion, what for us is a simple cube that has no use whatsoever, for the child’s mind it is millions of things that we do not see or appreciate. It will be used more or less, it will have more utilities and functions or less, but if it entertains a child during a period of time, in my opinion, the toy has already fulfilled its function.

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Photo toy Nacho Cosío