The next Primo Toys team member under the spotlight is Matteo, our Co-founder & Head of Design. Matteo is an interaction designer, creative technologist and visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins.
1. What did you do before Primo Toys?
I had been working as an interaction and product designer, mostly on tangible interfaces, creative coding, and prototyping. Just before founding Primo Toys, I was working as interaction designer at Arduino in Turin, where I worked with digital fabrication and open technologies. This is partly what inspired the open design aspect of the initial version of the product. We wanted our users to be able to discover the hidden parts of our product, by sharing the design files, source code, and making it easy to disassemble.
2. How did the idea for Cubetto come about?
The origins of Cubetto can be found in a project developed during my studies at MAInD. I had to design a product for children to introduce them to science and technology. The idea came from connecting the LOGO turtle – a software I used at school to learn programming – to young children’s natural way of playing, away from the screen. The tangible block language simplifies the LOGO turtle commands, taking away every literal and numerical element, to keep it simple and universal. Initially the robot was a car but after the difficult manufacturing process, we decided to introduce the smiling wooden robot, much simpler to produce, that later became the Cubetto Playset.
3. Why was Primo Toys formed?
Primo Toys was formed by myself and Filippo at the end of 2013. We both thought there could be some commercial potential in the idea, and believed it to be a game changer in early learning. After 9 months of preparation, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to validate the idea. From this initial success, ‘Primo Toys’ was born. Starting a company together was a natural step.
4. What is your role in the Primo Toys team?
My role has evolved with the company. At the start, I had to cover many areas, most of which were design-related, such as product, web, visuals, prototyping, and UX. Now that we have more people working on these aspects, my work is more focused towards higher level product strategy and the general direction of design.
5. What are your ambitions for the future?
We want to keep inventing interesting products for the little ones (and for ourselves of course!) without compromising on quality and innovation. We will keep looking into new areas, creating great products, and of course, having fun!