September 21, 2005

Boezels Sensory Toys: Look, Don't Touch For Now

boezels2.jpg boezels1.jpg

Boezels are these abstracted stuffed animal/creatures for--I kid you not-- children with mental or psychological disabilities, Alzheimer's patients...and hipsters [and not just any hipsters; hipsters who go commando, if the website's any indication].

Created by Dutch designer Twan Verdonck, Boezels are designed to provide specific sensory stimuli, like warmth, visual recognition, hugging, etc., as part of a therapy regimen, and were originally made for and by some mentally disabled folks in a care center in The Netherlands. Somehow, the art world picked up on them, and, if the story's to be believed, people started having "trendy Boezels parties where friends meet and relax together with their Boezels." Mm-hmm.

Whatever, they're cute, cool, very distinct from your typical off-the-shelf cartoon character plushtoy, and achingly hip. Actually, they're also low-key and functional enough to NOT be hip, too; they seem like they'd be a hit with kids of all mental capacities. So where do you get some? No idea. The first, disabled-made batch is sold out, and details of full-scale production & distribution haven't been announced yet.

Hopefully, they'll have a deal in place in time to catch the wave of publicity that's about to crash on them. Three Boezels will be included in MoMA's upcoming design exhibit, "Safe," starting Oct. 16.

Boezels sensorial stimulation therapy products [boezels.com, via metropolis]
MoMA's Safety Check, an interview with "Safe" curator Paola Antonelli [metropolismag.com]

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