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Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Ray and Charles Eames created serious fun for children

    "In a good old toy there is apt to be nothing self-conscious about the use of materials. What is wood is wood; what is tin is tin; and what is cast is beautifully cast." - Charles Eames

    Ray and Charles Eames took child’s play seriously. They invented playthings, furniture, and films to spark young imaginations. Given their own ideas of fun, these toys tended to emphasize composition, structure, and building. Many of their designs embrace what kids and parents have long known: that the box an item comes in, especially if it’s a very large item, can be more exciting than the contents.

     

    Set up in what appears to be the parking lot outside the Eames Office, Carton City apes the fictional community of Mayberry, with stop signs, neighborly visiting, even miniature landscaping (top). Dotted lines printed onto the Eames Storage Unit shipping cartons indicate ideal locations for the entrance and windows with awnings, 1950 (bottom left). Sun-kissed kids play in Eames Alley and Miller Street (bottom right). © Eames Office, LLC Set up in what appears to be the parking lot outside the Eames Office, Carton City is complete with stop signs, neighborly visiting, even miniature landscaping. Dotted lines printed onto the Eames Storage Unit shipping cartons indicate ideal locations for the entrance and windows with awnings, circa 1950.  © Eames Office, LLC

     

    The humble cardboard box offers children their first chance to make space for themselves, whether that’s a race car, a robot, or a house, The humble cardboard box offers children their first chance to make space for themselves, whether it's a race car, a robot, or a house.  © Eames Office, LLC

     

    As adults designing play things for children, the Eameses found inspiration in boxes and colourful paints. In 1951 The Toy was released by Tigrett Enterprises. It offered children the chance to make their own prefabricated structure, one more colorful and flexible than Carton City.

    Ray Eames plays with an early prototype of The Toy outside the Eames House in 1951. © Eames Office, LLC Ray Eames plays with an early prototype of The Toy outside the Eames House in 1951.
    © Eames Office, LLC

     

    The Toy combined thin wooden dowels, pipe cleaners, and a set of square and triangular stiffened-paper panels in green, yellow, blue, red, magenta, and black. Children could run the dowels through sleeves on the edges of the panels to strengthen them, and then attach these struts at the corners. Initially sold in a big, flat box via the Sears catalog, the Eameses soon redesigned this packaging, creating a far more elegant 30-inch hexagonal tube, into which all parts could be rolled and stored.

     

    The Toy combined thin wooden dowels, pipe cleaners, and a set of square and triangular stiffened-paper panels in green, yellow, blue, red, magenta, and black. Children could run the dowels through sleeves on the edges of the panels to strengthen them, and then attach these struts at the corners. Initially sold in a big, flat box via the Sears catalog, the Eameses soon redesigned this packaging as well, creating a far more elegant 30-inch hexagonal tube, into which all parts could be rolled and stored. The first version of The Toy made spaces big enough for children to inhabit, like the cartons. The Little Toy, (top left photo) released in 1952, was scaled more like an architectural model, allowing children to radically reinterpret the dollhouse. © Eames Office, LLC

     

    House of Cards originally came as two decks of 54 cards, with two slots on each side and one on the ends. The idea was to make construction of spaces as easy as possible. The notches more elegantly solve the problem of connections: no more dowels or wire frames, and no tools. Players got to choose 54 different patterns for the first deck, and 54 different photographs for the second.

     

    The photographs and patterns on the House of Cards (left) were chosen with much deliberation, intended to illustrate common objects like scissors, buttons, lockets, and lace whose everyday beauty might be overlooked. Tin cars and tin trains also appear, five years before they would be animated in the Eames film “Toccata for Toy Trains.” The notches on House of Card made them easier than The Toy to build with, as Charles Eames demonstrates (right), 1952. © Eames Office, LLC The photographs and patterns on the House of Cards were chosen with much deliberation, intended to illustrate common objects like scissors, buttons, lockets, and lace whose everyday beauty might be overlooked. Tin cars and tin trains also appear. The notches on House of Card made them easier than The Toy to build with, as Charles Eames demonstrates, 1952.  © Eames Office, LLC

     

    The catalog for all three Eames toy products noted, “This group of toys has been happily received by parents and educators because they make available real color and real space through three construction systems of three greatly different sizes, all different and all brilliant.”

    Cardboard offers an opportunity for a child’s first attempts to build and Ray and Charles Eames indeed offered a prelude to the more serious explorations of structure and material they embarked upon with houses, showrooms, and furniture. Cardboard comes into your house without designer packaging. Seeing its potential opens you up to a world in which any box contains a city and a lot of fun.

    So this holiday season, keep some of those packing boxes that clutter your living room and add some paints and see what happens. Might be some serious fun.

     

    Charles and Ray Eames developed a toy elephant made of plywood in 1945; however, this piece never went into production. Now manufactured in plastic, the Eames Elephant is available to the target group for which it was originally intended: children. Charles and Ray Eames developed a toy elephant made of plywood in 1945; however, it never went into production. Now manufactured in plastic, the Eames Elephant is available in five colours.

     

    Whether as a toy (also good for outdoor use) or as an item for children’'s bedrooms, this friendly-looking animal with its distinctive, huge floppy ears should make the heart of many a child (and parent) beat just that little bit faster.

    Customers in the USA can purchase many of GRShop's products at ModernPlanet.com and receive the same great customer service and free shipping.

  • NEW - LEFF amsterdam - because nobody really needs a clock!

    LEFF amsterdam are clock masters and watchmakers, based in Amsterdam. Founded in 2011 on the belief that life is too beautiful for dull design and with the philosophy that no one really needs a clock or watch, they decided to make their clocks and watches tell interesting stories, not just the time.

    The LEFF amsterdam Tube Table Clock is Amber's choice for gift giving this season, "Fabulous design and functionality is what makes this clock the top of my list this year for a great gift idea."

    The LEFF amsterdam Tube Table Clock, designed by Piet Hein Eek in 2014 , is such a simple idea. Very Dutch. Available in steel, brass and copper. The LEFF amsterdam Tube Table Clock, designed by Piet Hein Eek in 2014 , is such a simple idea. Very Dutch in design. Available in steel, brass and copper.

     

    The Tube Audio Clock, also designed by Piet Hein Eek, has small bluetooth speakers in the same shape as the tube clocks. You can connect the speaker to your mobile phone, tablet, using Bluetooth and listen to your music. The tube audio has the best components available and gives an extraordinary good sound for such a small object. The LEFF amsterdam Tube Audio Clock has small Bluetooth speakers that you can connect to your mobile phone, tablet, or computer and listen to your music. The tube audio has the best components available and gives you extraordinarily good sound for such a small object.

     

    Preferring not to be called artists, the creatives at LEFF amsterdam spend their lives in the pursuit of functional beauty. They believe that concept is king. LEFF amsterdam collaborates with renowned designers from all over the world. Every designer adds his own signature to the collection and defines the character of the brand.

     

    The Block Index Alarm Clock, designed by Erwin Termaat, 2013, is avaialble in white, black and copper with black. It is also available with a numeric face - the Block Arabic Clock. The LEFF amsterdam Block Index Alarm Clock, designed by Erwin Termaat, 2013, is available in white, black and copper with black. It is also available with a numeric face as the Block Arabic Alarm Clock.

     

    The LEFF amsterdam Felt Wall Clock, designed by Sebastian Herkner, 2012, has a face made of grey felt, for a soft, quiet appearance. The hands are available in white, grey and orange. The LEFF amsterdam Felt Wall Clock, designed by Sebastian Herkner, 2012, has a face made of grey felt, for a soft, quiet appearance. The hands are available in white, grey and orange.

     

    The Tile Wall Clock, designed by Robert Bronwasser, 2013, can stand alone or hang on a wall. It has a white glazed ceramic body and bamboo hands. The LEFF amsterdam Tile Wall Clock, designed by Robert Bronwasser, 2013, can stand alone or hang on a wall. It has a white glazed ceramic body and bamboo hands.

     

    Wrist watches are such a personal item. You wear it everyday and it must fit your life style, be comfortable and reflect your personality, otherwise, why bother? It is a choice these days to wear a wrist watch, you don't need it! LEFF amsterdam had Piet Hein Eek design the Tube Watch with a choice of a leather strap or a steel band, both are beautiful and functional.

     

    The Tube Wrist Watch has a precisely cut ring and high quality materials giving this watch its refined, yet tough and industrial character. Available with a black or brown leather strap. The LEFF amsterdam D42 Tube Wrist Watch has a precisely cut ring and high quality materials giving this watch its refined, yet tough and industrial character. Available with a black or brown leather strap.

     

    The S42 Tube Wrist Watch is made of stainless steel, with a matt  black finish. The LEFF amsterdam S42 Tube Wrist Watch is made of stainless steel, and is available in a matt black finish, brass or steel.

     

    And now for that extra cool object for your home or office, the Inverse Mirror Clock.

    Designed in 2015 by one of the Netherlands' most successful designers, Richard Hutten, the Inverse Mirror Clock is multi-functional. A 70 inch mirror holds the clock face which can be By turning the dial, the 12 position of the clock can be changed. A clever feature that gives you the possiblity to hang the clock horizontally or vertically or make it lean casually against the wall. The warmth of solid oak stands in contrast to the cold appearance of the mirror, making this object suitable for any space." Designed in 2015 by one of the Netherlands' most successful designers, Richard Hutten, the Inverse Mirror Clock is multi-functional. A 70 inch mirror holds the clock face which, by turning the dial, the 12 positions of the clock can be changed. A clever feature that gives you the possibility to hang the clock horizontally or vertically or let it lean casually against a wall. The warmth of the solid oak stands in contrast to the cold appearance of the mirror, making this object suitable for any space.

     

    Available in natural oak or black. Available in natural oak or black.

     

    With LEFF amsterdam you can be sure that you possess an authentic piece of design, made to the highest possible standards.

    Customers in the USA can purchase many of GRShop's products at ModernPlanet.com and receive the same great customer service and free shipping.

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