OK, new theory: maybe no one in London remembers the Childsply and Childsform group design challenges and exhibitions because the entire London design world consists of an endless stream, year in and year out, of group design challenges?? ["Hello Cleveland!"]
Like Ten, for example. Ten wasn't started in 2006 as a group exhibition, so much as a "conversation." Chris Jackson rallied nine of his fellow London designers--including Childsply/Childsform alumni Michael Marriott, Tomoko Azumi, and Gitta Gschwendtner--to think responsibly about design and the endless, unsustainable drive to buy and consume things. This year, for the third installment, the idea was to create actual products, not just design exercises. So they brought in--who else?--twentytwentyone, and after their debut at 100% Design a couple of weeks ago, the host of cheap, witty, sustainable little wood products are now wending their way toward production. One hopes.
There are a few kid-related designs in Wood by Ten, in order of increasing awesomeness: The Animals of Whittling Wood and Door Mouse Door Wedge, Carl Clerkin's coat hooks and doorstops from the put-cute-eyes-on-it-and-maybe-they-won't-throw-it-away school of eco-friendly product design; Writers Blok, Chris Jackson's own cityscape-shaped desk organizer made from building blocks; and Wedge Racer, Gschwendtner's [can someone throw me a pronunciation bone here, please?] extremely wedge-shaped toy car, meant to be cool enough to survive the transition to adulthood. The winner by a dumptruckload of awesomeness, though, is Sam Johnson's Dumper Truck. It's made, as he puts it, "from two bits of wood and some off the shelf components, the key piece being the plastic tool box."
It makes me want to run right over to The Container Store and buy some stuff to reuse.