Unfettered play

fortune star

Fortune Star, by Good Wives and Warriors

The French psychologist Jean Piaget recommends that, ’If you would be more creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterises children before they are deformed by adult society.’ Designers also sometimes speak with awe about the spontaneous, raw creativity of children. And there are surely times when every designer wishes to forget the rules and principles learned at college, unfettering their mind from that word which is the enemy of innovation – ’no’.

From the perspective of grown-up designers, those under the age of ten work backwards. With few exceptions, they create first, and then invent a function for their object. At least, this is the observation of recent Royal College of Art graduate Olivia Decaris, who, along with fellow RCA alumnus Hina Thibaud, runs design education workshops for young children.

Decaris and Thibaud’s first pop-up shop, Marveland, opens next month, featuring workshops for children, an exhibition space for their work and a shop. Small tables will be laden with paper, pens and objects to inspire the miniature product designers, who will be encouraged to present their inventions and deliver instructions on how to use them. Marveland is also publishing a book on children’s experiments, which will be available on the opening day.

A gift shop will sell items designed not by the children – ’That wouldn’t be fair,’ says Decaris – but by creatively ’deformed’ adult professional designers. They may not be in the same league as the children’s work, but these products still manage to have a distinctly playful feel.

Marveland has a grand opening for children from noon to 4pm on 4 December at The Garage, 1 North Terrace, London SW3. It has a second opening for adults from 6pm on 8 December. The show is open every day from 11am to 7pm, and closes on 20 December.

Latest articles