Lizi Building block by Li Xu

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
Lizi

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Building block

INSPIRATION:
Lizi: The Building Blocks of Creativity. Manipulation motivates innovation, especially as the virtual erases the material from daily life. Arranging building blocks encourage new ways of thinking, but traditional block systems bore users. Uninspiring monotonous shapes and limited functionality do little to inspire creativity over the long term. How can a building block system become a durable tool to cultivate imagination?

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Lizi is a new block system that can be played in an organic and open way. The four forms with grooves and holes allow users to stack blocks up in many ways, while the structure looks like some parts are missing, allowing users to add their own stuff and enjoy the fun of finding items around them to enrich the system. By playing with those blocks, the user can train their focus on building creativity with everyday objects in a fresh perspective.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Lizi is a new building block system that can be new to the user every day; a system that offers fresh opportunities for discovery. Lizi shapes are incomplete. Voids stimulate users to seek parts to fill them; parts that will build structure in unusual ways. Because imagination is limitless, Lizi has no pre-programmed outcomes. The cubes, cylinders, and sheets of Lizi use the formal language of hardware, electronics, tree branches and stationery—the quotidian material world that surrounds us. Users enjoy the surprise of finding and incorporating everyday objects, enriching and customizing the system. Through extensive testing, I developed four inter-linking structures that offer infinite possibilities to stimulate creative thinking.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in February 2018 and end in May 2018 in New York City.

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Walnut, Pinewood, Maple/ Woodwork(CNC, Table Saw, Chop saw, Bend saw

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Type 1: Block with holes or grooves 38.1mm*38.1mm*38.1mm Type 2: Block with holes or grooves 38.1mm*38.1mm*19.05mm Type 3: Block with holes or grooves 19.05*19.05*19.05 Type 4: Block with holes or grooves 19.05* 19.05*19.05 Type 5: Sticks with grooves:10.06*57.15mm Type 6: Sticks with grooves:10.06*152.4mm Type 7: Sticks with grooves: 10.06*114.3mm

TAGS:
Boost Imagination, Build creativity, Play with nature, Have fun, Decrease Stress, Practice Tactility

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
More and more, we are finding pleasure in our digital devices. According to research from the 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, American adults spend more than 11 hours per day having fun with media, which causes to imagination and tactility decrease, as well as stress increase. Nature products that can solve those problems are rare, except for some building blocks. However, most of them are aimed at kids instead of adults. Existing adult blocks are more like decoration on our desks instead of inspiring people to build. Many users I interviewed who have building blocks complained that they are easily to get bored with stacking those blocks after they figure out the mechanism. What is more, some adult blocks are not abstract and barely can inspire people's imagination. To provide better building blocks for adults, I decided to focus on inspiring people to play for the long term. Complex building blocks like Lego set a rule and show the final outcome before you start building, which increases stress and limits your imagination by giving the strict rules and instructions. That's the reason why I chose to not provide instruction and outcome to users. While making Lizi, I tested with different people and aimed to get the objective structure that people can play for the long term. While testing, people showed a lot of interests to some unfinished blocks while I accidentally showed these to them. They asked what these were and what could these be, I thought those unfinished work just made their brains run and their imagination was boosted while guessing. In the meantime, my research showed that many people did one similar thing when they were children: Stacking unassociated everyday objects and re-imagining their meaning. For example, children stack clay, leaves, and stones together and call it a castle, pile electronic components and call them robots. We seem to know how to utilize things around us to boost imagination at a young age. However, we make this ability more practical when we become adults. We are more likely to use this ability for making our life easier. For example, we repurpose a plastic bag as an umbrella when raining, use books instead of purchasing a new leg to make a broken table more stable. Those are practical applications of repurposing everyday day objects, which is the same as we did as children. Everyday objects have a lot of potential to inspire our imagination and we happened to know how to use them. What if I apply the ability to repurpose into building blocks? What about a kind of blocks that can not just be stacked together but also can be the connection between everyday objects? What does this structure look like if it can allow everyday objects to play functions of connecting things, bearing weight, and increasing balance? Those questions drove me to the direction of designing Lizi.

CHALLENGE:
How can a building block system become a durable tool to cultivate imagination? How to use structure to inspire people imagination for long term? Because Building blocks are not like digital games and apps which can raise people's interests through the periodical updates. What does an open structure look like and how to make products understandable. There are thousands of blocks in the market, how to differentiate Lizi from them.

ADDED DATE:
2019-02-15 05:08:53

TEAM MEMBERS (1) :


IMAGE CREDITS:
IMAGE ARE SHOT BY LI XU

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CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
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PROFILE:
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NOMINATION DETAILS

Lizi Building Block by Li Xu is a Nominee in Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design Category.

· This project is currently confidential as results have not been announced yet. Images and further details of the project is not available for public yet, please check back later. If you are the owner of this design, please login to view the images.

· The profile and other works by Li Xu is also kept secret. This information will also be available later.
AWARD DETAILS

Lizi Building Block by Li Xu is Winner in Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design Category, 2018 - 2019.



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