Play-Dough Comes to Life in Design Objects

Designer Stephan Johnson’s Play series takes its inspiration from the iconic play-dough we all loved as a child. Bright, colorful creations, the series is at once fun and an ode to spontaneous creativity.

Johnson’s objective was to design functional products using a child’s dough. Given the soft nature of dough, Johnson needed a material that looked and behaved in the same way but became rigid over time. The key characteristics of play dough, its silky texture and satisfying feeling when squashed in the hand were vital and the final product had to cure hard. The designer went on to develop a product himself and results are pure fun.

Play is about the innovative freedom we had as children, being spontaneous, putting objects and materials together without restriction. Designing in the moment with our hands, imagination and the things we have around us.

“I think as designers we can sometimes loose this free, instant state. We’re so often victims of design through meetings, briefs and software. This project for me was an antidote to that. A return to spontaneity. And kids dough was the perfect medium for this to happen,” said Johnson.

As part of Play’s ongoing evolution Johnson recently launched the material as a collection of domed pendent lights that merge machined production with creative spontaneity. With the dough hand placed on the inside of every dome, each light is unique – a standardised product with the DNA of fingerprints, gestures and colour individual to each piece.

The dough has an endless potential as something to bring objects together and as a stand-alone material with which to construct wonderful designs and we look forward to seeing where this leads!


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