Between Play Mountain, Landscape Products, and Chigo, Shinichiro Nakahara has created something of a refined, humanistic modernist design archipelago of ventures across Tokyo. The company has done exhibits of mid-century modern designers; their stores mix original and exclusive furniture and objects with mid-century classics. Chigo is one of the sweetest kidstores in Tokyo [hey, it looks like they have one of those Rosemary's Berceuse wicker rocker/cradles by Gonzo/Vicari!]
Now they're launching a few toys and kidgear pieces to the US. They had a booth at Bubble New York, the very trendy kids trade show that ends today, and I got to meet Nakahara and some of his crew. One piece they showed, the Gula chair by Shigeki Fujishiro, has already been seen 'round these parts. It's going into production and is on its way.
The really eye-popping stuff, though are the toys: there are some 4-sided square puzzles with organic/natural shapes, updated versions of those Naef & Creative Playthings models. These house-shaped blocks are perfect for making a little, minimalist town. They're painted on just one side of the roof and kind of remind me of the ghosts of Ladislav Sutnar's never-produced Factory Town blocks. And no, your eyes aren't deceiving you; that is a boxing ring for dolls.
On the floor were two beautiful plywood boxes. The one in the back had a racetrack painted on the bottom, and the one the kid finally had to be dragged away from was a dollhouse, outfitted with two floors, a staircase, and a screened off bedroom area.
It seems like just yesterday folks were complaining about the shortage of sweet modernist dollhouses. Now with entries from Our Children's Gorilla to Momoll to Chigo and more, it's a veritable building boom. No word on timing or pricing yet, or even what to ask for, Chigo, L-P, or P-M. Stay tuned.