Kids have a special set of eyes to watch the world. Their creations are naive and full of dreams. There is something extremely positive in childhood: children have this surprising freshness and honesty that we can only aspire to comprehend. They have no experience; they are virgin of competition and promotion. They build crudely and dirtily and do not focus on the look of their design: it is too long and superficial. During our workshops, we try to show the children some new ways to connect their fantastic imagination with functionality. Our students hold a certain imagination that designers can only envy. Their creations are surprising, probably thanks to their spontaneity and their naivety facing judgment.

Hina and Olivia

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The directions for using a Fork

You will find below some of the instructions to use a fork, made by the pupils of Thorpedene School.
This class was level 5 (8-9 years old)

Exercise 1 
We asked them to imagine that they would have to explain a friend, coming from another planet, how to use a Fork. I have to admit, we had a lot of fun.

Our brief sounded so French, that most of them have preferred dedicating the instructions to the foLk 

After asking them to guess the weight, the size and the material of the fork, we suggested them to attribute the object a new function.  

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Fourth Marveland Workshop

Thursday, November 11th

For this fourth workshop we had our two usual involved participants: Lewis and Jon. A friend of theirs, Joseph, joined us to enjoy this creative moment.

As we wanted to teach them what is a function we decided to work with a common object
again: a plastic bottle. We showed them two bottles: a plastic and a glass one. We asked
them to compare these and to write a list of the differences in term of quality, shape, weight...

Immediately, Jon was very inspired. He told us "we can melt them." Olivia asked him for an
approximate temperature but the only thing he wanted was to experiment putting the
bottle of plastic in the oven. So we fulfilled his wish. Squatting in front of the oven, he was observing the plastic bottle’s transformation as it was the Seven Wonders of the World. After this first try we could not stop him anymore. «Another one! Another one! » he told us. Then, we explained to him what the “series” in design is; He decided to create a family of “melted-bottles”.

He created seven objects out of the bottles we gave him, each one having its own particularity. The bottle was distorting in different ways according to the time spent in the oven and depending on the amount of air enclosed in the bottle: the plastic bottle shrunk, inflated, melted and transformed into different shapes. One model even exploded in the oven: BANG!

As it was a family of bottles, he gave each one a name. He referred some of his creation to the
animal world: the bottle with a sinuous shape became the” Snake”, the one with a bulb on the
top became the “Xolhippo” and the name of the big bottle which exploded on the oven was
called “Rattle shark”.

Lewis focused on the weight of the bottles.

According to him the plastic bottle has an aerodynamic shape that reminded him of a rocket: of
course! Let’s do it! Lewis, the astronaut, explained to us how to make it and gave us some special instructions. He had specific inquires: a red balloon inflated with helium, a bottle, and a paper cone on the top of the whole structure. Yes, a rocket is not a rocket if it doesn’t have a tip pointing to the sky, is it?

Inspired by "the last despairing bid for help", he suggested putting a message on it: the rocket became the “messenger rocket”: a good way to express yourself and communicate with your friends. We threw the balloon over the balcony and his message flew away.

Joseph got his inspiration from the bottom of the bottles. He noticed the weird shape of it.

The humpy shape of the plastic bottom has found an admirer! He used the bottle as a telescope; he held it in front of his eyes and enjoyed the blurred vision through his plastic binoculars. Why do we always have to invent instrument to see perfectly when we have the possibilities to create fantastic worlds?

Who said that the real world has to be straight? Joseph designed a new way of observing and
watching: everything is blurred and funny!

Then, he drew a series of bottles.

And finally, to end this intense session, we asked them to draw a portrait of us.

According to Jon we don’t have a nose: good to know. Also, we seem to have very flexible legs...
Lewis has been inspired by Picasso, well done!
DING DONG! Mummy is here!!!
Lewis:“Oops don’t have time to write your name Hina.”
Hina & Olivia: “No worries, see you next week.”

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Third Marveland Workshop

Monday, the 8th of November.
This Monday there were two kids attending: Jon and Lewis.
This time, we wanted them to concentrate on ‘function’. The rules were to write at least one sentence each time they created a model, explaining to the user how to use the new object.
We bought some polystyrene cups and asked them make a list of all the things they could do and create with them.

Then we put a porcelain mug and a polystyrene cup next to each other on the table and proposed that the two kids compare them.
-one has a ‘holder’, the other one has not, Jon said.
-the mug is heavier and frailer than the cup, the mug is more precious! Lewis said.
I asked him to guess the weight of the cup. ‘25g, I guess’.

Then, we suggested he make them equal in term of weight and value. He had an idea: he ordered us to break some china and to put the broken pieces into the cup for him. ‘Yes Sir! At your beck and call!’. We obeyed and took some precious dishes out of our kitchen cupboard, smashed it and filled the cup with the pieces of China.

After that, we gave them the task to develop and improve the functionality of the cup.

"Triple Decker Tea cup"

Jon added to the cup another bottom to create a tea cup. The tea powder is enclosed in the removable part and acts as a filter/strainer. It seems to be a double decker more than a triple decker.

"Thirsty Cup"

Lewis wanted to extend the volume of the object and increase the quantity of beverage to drink. He created a large excrescence with a cup that he truncated and attached to the other same polystyrene cup.

Social Cup
Lewis was interested in combining the cup and the Tea pot. The Cup-pot enables the user to serve the tea he is drinking from his own cup to his friends.

Another exercise was to transform the cup into something else.


Jon made a donjon attached by a catapult and shot by a plasticin ball.


Lewis did a pair of binoculars with a rubber lace, to observe some little things that you can only see through his magic tool.

Jon created a magic light switch. You can take it with you anywhere and it will give you the power to switch on and off all the lamps, the street lights, headlights, etc...

They discovered the magic potential of the material when they put one of the cups in the oven and observed the transformation of the polystyrene: melting, distorting and shrinking.
They were interested in using the techniques for their designs: Lewis drew some patterns on a cup and put it into the oven.

It gave birth to a tiny "world cup".

Jon put a rubber band around the cup:

The result became ‘the cup of Mystery and Wish’ that keeps the wishes enclosed until they come true.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Second Marveland Workshop

Monday, November 1st
For this second workshop, we had three participants: Yasin, Lewis and Omar (8 years old).
Omar is actually Yasin’s brother.
The work started immediately. They were extremely excited with the second session. We were happy about their positive attitude: motivation, enthusiasm and interest seem to be essential for creation.
We have chosen to divide the workshop in two parts: half an hour of three dimensional mock-ups and another thirty minutes of sketches.

The 3 dimensional objects

As a brief, we had in mind to ask them to concentrate on tools, as we did during the previous workshop. We asked them to invent something to reproduce beautiful circles, as they all have some difficulties to draw perfectly round rings.

Omar, the oldest of the group, has created this instrument that vacuums ink and acts as a stamp to print some disk shape. A handle was integrated, to make it functional and easy to use. Designer Omar has also cut out a round piece of sponge to control the flow and to enable the colourful liquid to spread out regularly.

Like his neighbour, Lewis made a stamp, but this time, with two disks. According to him, you can make more disks than Omar. He was inspired by the fountain pen he uses everyday at school. The mechanism creates suction to transfer ink directly through the pipe into the Ink reservoir.

The youngest boy, Yasin, made a ring out of clay, to create ‘Os’. We believe it is dedicated to his older brother Omar. He also shaped some round smooth pebbles to steer his pencil in the good direction.
Yasin is the youngest, but he is the only one who can make the difference between a disk and
a circle.

Hina asked them to imagine a seat as something that could support their young and light bodies
and on which they could rest. They started drawing.

"The power behind the throne"

Omar has drawn a Throne. He did not really use the world Throne, but he described his design as an extraordinary chair that would give him power, authority and dignity. is the reason why he drew a crown, we thought. He also added some limbs, such as arms, hands and legs. As the name suggests, an Armchair needs Arms. But, we believe the hands were a bit more unusual. We first thought they were cup holders. No, according to the designer, they are part of the design and they are here to prevent him from leaving his powerful spot: the hands are shaking other hands and are opening the doors. The legs are also very important as they transport King Omar from Place to place. Yes, the throne walks and acts as a vehicle.

"Lounging in the air"

Lewis has imagined a Lounge chair with a massive back rest where he could lean back and relax.
To him, it is crucial to have an extra piece to have his legs supported. The chair is adjustable: the part for the feet can be folded under the sit if not in used and the back rest is retractable. Lewis Lounge chair can be employed as an ideal setting for a quick nap or as a reading area. But one of its additional qualities is to have integrated wings that can obviously fly and take the designer for a sky ride.

"Rodeo bicycle"

Yasin seems to be interested in wheels. He keeps on drawing them. This time, He has sketched some kind of bike that could project him in the sky. His concerns were to create a device that he could seat on while moving forward. But more than anything, the main function of the RB is to enable Designer Yasin to rebound and to reach the clouds.

And then, after the furniture production, we suggested them to imagine a hat, to match with the shoes designed during our previous workshop.

"Crowned head"

Omar has represented a top hat with a crown on the top. It fits with his chair and with his interest in royalty. He needs the complete outfit!

"Pit-bull hat"

Lewis is fascinated by monstrous creatures and needs to translate this obsession in his designs.
He is interested in security. It is why he has drawn this freaking hat, to defend himself in case of attack as a molosser would do.

"This is for men, This is for ladies"

Yasin has a wide imagination, but he draws very small objects for his very small body. He has scribbled down a mini Tam o' Shanter beret as a kind of mix between the Scottish cap and the French bonnet.
That is for men, he said. For the lady, he has imagined a pink eared bowler hat, to listen to the gossips when it is cold.

The designers of this second Marveland session: Omar (8 years old), Lewis and Yasin

First Marveland Workshop

Thursday 21st of October, from 4.30 to 5.30.

We had three children attend our primary workshop: Yasin (5), Jon (7) and Lewis (7).
We prepared a couple of briefs to see how the children would react.
Instead of giving the kids a large and abstract brief, we asked them to create everyday life objects that they see and use all the time. We had in mind that kids have a wide imagination: they never reproduce reality. They have no notion of proportion and no design concern at these ages.

We put a bloc of clay on the table:
We asked them to create a plate to serve their favourite food, knowing that the result would never looks like a usual plate, but would obviously tell a story: their marvellous stories.

Yasin had some difficulties in being able to grab the clay. It was too hard for his micro hands. He is very young and probably too little to build things. He took some papier mache and built an ‘apple plate’, why not?

Jon and Lewis have both created a small ‘tray’ with clay, to serve the Sunday Roast. According to them, the reason the plates were so small was to welcome a little amount of food: there were designed for miniature appetite and for children’s stomach.

We have also suggested them to invent an object to support the cutlery and to avoid stains on the table after food.

Yasin has created a sausage out of clay and has stuck the fork, knife and spoon into it. This object was accomplished through a complete instinctive and compulsive gesture.

Jon has modelled some mats for each piece of cutlery. After the meal, the user will display its dinner service on their appropriate spot.

Lewis has wrapped fork, knife and spoon together with clay, to create a cutlery nest.

Then, we finished by asking them to design a glass.

Jon is apparently fascinated by dream catchers and explained us that his glasses were only made for rich people of Jonland.

Lewis was interested in creating a magic volcano glass that could erupt at anytime. Water would flow when the user became thirsty.

Yasin has drawn a water bubble that does not need to be filled up. The water is enclosed inside and stays there, for life. We imagine that if the user is thirsty, they will make a hole inside or smash the object to rich the precious liquid.

To introduce a new subject, we asked them to design a shoe. We spread some markers on the table and encouraged them to draw their designs.
They were all inspired by the animal world: each shoe has a tong, to swallow the dirt of the pavement, but also for self-cleaning. Good point: useful and sustainable.

Jon has drawn some legs, underneath the sole. We suppose he was inspired by roller skates. But the good thing with the legs is that the wearer does not have to walk: the shoes walk for him.

Lewis has actually created a fishshoe that can clean in front of the wearer (using the tongue) and behind (using the tail) the user. He has also imagined a Chimera female shoe, inspired by the mythology (dragon) and the middle-ages (spiral point). The heal has claws that can scratch anything such as men, women or bad dogs.

Yasin has drawn an axe-rainbow pair of shoes, with an integrated sock.

The Designers:

Lewis (7 years old),  John ( 7 years old) and Yasin (5 years old)

Hina et Olivia

My photo
London, East London, United Kingdom
Olivia and Hina met in France in 2005, during their Art and Design Bachelors at ESAD de Reims. They both studied together for their Masters in London, at the renowned Royal College of Art, in Platform 10, where they graduated from Design Products in 2009. Since Then, designer and Illustrator Olivia Decaris has spent her time working from her own studio, running workshops and participating in design groups throughout Europe while negotiating her first projects going into production. In the meantime, Hina Thibaud has been working on the design of a hat collection in collaboration with knitters and stylists and has started developing children products such as My Theatre Suitcase. A common interest in the theme of ‘childhood’ has united the two designers on collaborative projects such as the instauration of Children’s design workshops and the curation of exhibitions.