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Hugo Mathers

Hugo Mathers

We shape our toys, and our toys shape us…

We believe the toys you play with as a child help shape your interests as an adult. We stopped to think what were the toys that inspired us as kids, and shaped us as adult toy makers. From CEO to Head of Product, here’s our list.

Emiglio Robot, Filippo Yacob

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Being a kid in the 90’s was awesome. The toys were awesome, the commercials were bombastic. My favourite toy was one I never actually had! The Emiglio Robot. I was never given one because I got super bratty and over it, so my parents taught me a lesson, but that was no match for wishful thinking.

I remember spending hours drawing plans for wild adventures that my robot servant and I would go on. I would make lists of all the places Emiglio and I would visit. I made accessories for him out of cardboard. Costumes, weapons, tools. I planned robot-assisted heists in my sister’s room. I even made a whole comic book about Emiglio’s travels. I must have subconsciously thought that by showing my parents how pathetic my imaginary robot friend and I were, they would get me one. They never did, but it pushed me to have fun in a different way, one I fondly remember to this day 🙂

16 Animali, Matteo Loglio

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16 Animali (sixteen animals) is a very old toy. It was produced initially by Italian furniture company Danese in 1957. It is both a puzzle and a construction kit, composed by abstract animals that fit together in one single combination, just like a puzzle. The exaggerated thickness of the pieces enables an alternative usage of the product as building blocks, stacking the animals vertically.

This toy was part of a disruptive movement in pedagogy and toy design that was carried out in Italy by Bruno Munari and Enzo Mari (the designer of the toy), when there was still a backward fascist education. Toys at the time were rarely considered means of expression, but functional tools to educate the child.

What I like about building blocks is the memory of the material and the richness of the stimulation. I still remember the smell and the texture of those little animals: they remained unchanged for more than fifty years, and one day I will pass this toy to my kids and they will experience the same smell and feelings that my dad and I felt in the past. I loved animals and puzzles and this was the perfect combination of the two: I fell in love with it immediately.

Arts & Crafts, Valeria Leonardi

I had a somewhat unconventional upbringing. We had no TV, no recorded music, and only wooden or natural material toys. I remember having a stuffed bear, PomPom; a homemade doll with blond hair like mine (and always in a tangle like mine!); and a tea set we received for Christmas on a bamboo tray which we still use today. Mostly though I played creative games, dressing up with my sister and friends, and putting on plays. Building dens at home and outside was also a great past time of my childhood. Then I remember card games with my grandma, and long cooking and craft sessions on the kitchen table with my great aunt who used old plastic bags to crochet decorative items.

LEGO, Ben Callicott

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I remember being totally obsessed with LEGO as a kid, as many still are today. The set that I have the fondest memories of was a LEGO Airport set. This was the first toy I ever bought myself after saving up all my pocket money over several weeks. When I finally had enough, I rushed to my nearest toy shop to buy it with my best friend at the time, then rushed back home to build it as quickly as we could. I loved that set so much, as it included a helicopter and passenger plane that I used to fly around the house to different ‘destinations’! It goes without saying that LEGO is great for imaginative play, even if the new sets aren’t quite as good as the old ones ;).

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