Like millions of kids around the globe, I loved to play with LEGO when I was little. However, what always disturbed me was the solid nature of the LEGO connectors - once you put two pieces together, there is no more flexbility, movements and ergonomics. Years later, while watching my son absorbed in playing with toy blocks, I came across the idea of creating a new kind of building brick that was a little more eco-friendly and could be 3d assembled into various flexible and ergonomic shapes.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Docklets is a new system of building blocks for both small and tall builders! Its hook and loop coins allow you to build simple or complex three-dimensional models which would not be possible with conventional toy blocks. The coins are colour-coded for intuitive use and also ensure a certain flexibility between the blocks, leading to ergonomic shapes and the recreation of movements. Illustrated step-by-step instructions make building your model ideas childs play. Enjoy Docklets!
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Regular toy blocks are simply being stacked. Thanks to their hook and loop coins, Docklets bricks can be assembled to unlimited 3d constructions. This hook and loop system also ensures unheard of flexibility between the blocks, which makes ergonomic shapes possible, as well as the recreation of movements.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in Oktober 2014 Berlin/Germany. It was first presented to the public at Nuremberg Toy Fair in January 2016. In August 2016, the first 4 standard sets were launched. At Nuremberg Toy Fair in February 2017, three new products were presented: Docklets robots set, Docklets horses set and Docklets maxi set. Theses sets will be available in stores by August 2017.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The toy bricks are made of 100% pure poplar wood, enhanced with hook and loop coins (polyamide and hot-melt adhesive). They come in different shapes and sizes and are all compatible to one antoher.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Product sizes ranging from 150 x 120 x 80 mm up to 450 x 400 x 200 mm.
Packaging sizes of standard sets: width 313 mm x height 313mm x depth 65 mm. Packaging size of maxi set: width 355 mm x height 230 x depth 358 mm.
Number of Docklets pieces per standard set: 40-50. Number of Docklets pieces per maxi set: 160.
Number of model ideas per standard set: 3-4. Number of model ideas per maxi set: 20.
Labels: FSC, SGS TUEV SAAR, CE, Gruener Punkt.
docklets, toy, bricks, blocks, hook, loop, building, wood, kids, construction
Starting off by online research, we soon went out to explore relevant real life products in toy stores and at toy fairs, then gathered and tested around 10 different products and went into analysing their pros and cons. Our goal was to provide the kids with an intuitive and playful, yet challenging building experience that would be somehow familiar with the all-around LEGO but have a unique look and feel nonetheless.
The Docklets needed to be designed in a way that all parts of all sets would be fully intermateable and easy to manufacture, while at the same time they needed to provide a LEGO-like free play experience. Forward planning regarding follow-up sets was crutial. Manufacturingwise, the hardest part was to find the right balance between the sizes of the bricks and the sizes/adhesion of the hook and loop coins. Ultimately, an individual hot-melt glue needed to be fabricated especially for Docklets.
TEAM MEMBERS (3) :
Ideation, conception, design, model making: Thade Precht. , Project management: Juergen Exner. and Photographer: Ekkehard Nitschke.
Image #1: Photographer Ekkehard Nitschke, Docklets Set 58040, 2016.
Image #2: Photographer Ekkehard Nitschke, Docklets Set 58050, 2016.
Image #3: Photographer Ekkehard Nitschke, Docklets Set 58200, 2016.
Image #4: Photographer Ekkehard Nitschke, kids with Docklets Set 58040, 2016.
Image #5: Photographer Ekkehard Nitschke, kids with Docklets Set 58050, 2016.
Copyrights belong to TPPD / Thade Precht Playful Design & Beluga Spielwaren GmbH, 2016.