The 36 pieces expresses fundamental elements of rich Japanese nature just like pebbles, twigs, and sea shells, while they have potentials to become a part of a larger and special something that will still be beautiful and reminds us of the original elements even after being built. The lengths and angles of the pieces have been carefully calculated and designed to maximize the number of combinations that is possible within the limited 202 pieces. The diversity, limitation, and their pre-established harmony enables the release of immense imagination and creativity.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
This collection of beautiful and innovative toy blocks consists of 12 iconic units with poetic stories infused, with 2 color variations each. The units can be further disassembled into unique 36 different shapes (202 pieces in total), with which you can build various objects, both concrete and abstract, that you could never imagine. Once you hand these to children, you will be surprised how long they concentrate and how diverse its usage can be.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
By handing KUUM to children, it is possible to discover their potential creativity. (1)Painter: they start to collect blocks of certain color-groups and start painting. (2)Inventor: some try to invent and build cars and robots. (3)Puzzle-lovers: they fall in love with geometric shape combinations and start making patterns. (4) Story-teller: they do not build things, they pick up the blocks and use them as characters, making their own story plots. Compared to other conventional toy blocks, KUUM has greater comprehensiveness for children’s diverse potential imagination and creation types. Even a parent and a kid with different preferences of creation can play together with KUUM.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in April 2014 in Kobe, Japan and the product was launched in December 2015 online.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
block material: natural beech wood
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
One set includes two block units with different colors associated to each theme. The 12 themes contain a total of 202 pieces corresponding to 36 unique shapes. Each theme comes in a triangular prism (length of side 6cm × height 6cm), cube (length of side 6cm × height 6cm) or cylinder (diameter 6cm × height 6cm) form.
toy, blocks, creativity, wood, art, interior
An internal research on young mothers was conducted at the beginning of the project. The insight which especially drew our attention was a young mother's opinion that she did not know how to play with her own son using toy blocks every day, because "a house" was the only thing she could build. When asked in-depth, this mother, as a child, used to play more with story-telling and painting rather than building things. This is how we noticed the potential variety of playing with wooden toy blocks.
1) reduction of the manufacturing cost
because we wanted to have a wide variety of unique piece shapes, the biggest challenge was the cost. All the pieces were designed to have at least two parallel planes so that they can be produced in a cookie-cutter manner at factories, while maintaining the uniqueness and varieties of the shapes.
2) color and shape quality control
it was very challenging to control the quality of 36 different colors and shapes of the blocks. Uno flew to the manufacturing factory to talk with the local team to manage it.
TEAM MEMBERS (3) :
Concept Direction & Product Design: Marie Uno, Package Design: Ippei Iwahara and Strategy Design: Hideshi Hamaguchi