Parents freak out nowadays about the violence of children’s toys and games. Granted, the videogames where you have to murder, pillage, and steal from zombies and humans alike are pushing things a bit over the edge, but that’s what they have ratings for! These bond toys, on the other hand, were made for kids. They were meant to create mini-spy, killing machines. Seems a bit out of control … but I also totally understand the appeal and think they are pretty rad! What do you think?!
I’m not that into chess, and I never really have been. On the other hand, I am fairly fascinated by chess culture – the guys that sit around and play in parks for hours, the stores dedicated totally and completely to the game, and all of the amazing sets. I guess the true aficionados don’t really care what they play with (because they always seem to have pretty standard, boring boards), but if I were a chess player I would want to engage my opponents with none other than an austin cox modernist chess set.
In 1962 the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) launched a marketing program to advance the selling of their aluminum products.
Since everyone was obsessed with space in 1962, ALCOA figured what better marketing strategy than to make a really incredible, “space age” chess set. Seems like a bit of an odd idea to me, but designer Austin Cox created some really excellent chess sets. Each piece is cut from a formed bar of aluminum. From the face, the black and white pieces look the same, but the uncut sides of the black pieces are anodized black. Pretty slick…
Now, while these ALCOA sets are pretty incredible, they do tend to get a bit pricey. But if you are in the neighborhood for an upgrade from your standard old black and white plastic, go check out the Village Chess Shop on Thompson Street. They have nothing but cool chess stuff, and they even offer tournaments and a chess academy.
230 Thompson St
(between 3rd St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10012
Black light has been used for a lot of different things since its creation in the 30s. From spotting counterfeit money and art fraud, to scorpion detection and bio-terrorism training, black lights do a lot to make our world a better, safer, cleaner place. But, let’s face it, they also make things look really, really cool, and in the psychedelic 70s a whole lot of people took advantage of their glow.
A New York City-based company in particular, Third Eye, was the king (or queen) of the black light poster industry. Brilliant fluorescent inks were silkscreened onto thick poster paper resulting in a final product that was a bit more like an art print than a mass-produced poster. Themes varied from the mystical to political with a whole lot of colorful geometric designs and op-art in between.
Third Eye also printed a series of amazing black light posters using the line art from classic Marvel Comics by some of the all time great comic artists.They are pretty incredible, and are the perfect (and most rad) addition to the room of any child or nerd!
Enzo Mari is an Italian designer of all sorts of beautiful things. From books to art, furniture to toys, Mari has done it all. In 1957 he completed his first project for design company Danese. It was called 16 Animali, or 16 Animals, a wooden puzzle of simply carved animal shapes – including a hippo, snake, giraffe and camel – that join together to form a rectangle. Used as building blocks, the animals can also be stacked in all sorts of way to form various sculptures. This puzzle was followed by 16 Pesci, or 16 Fish, which is a similar toy made up of all sorts of sea creatures.
Made of precious wood and contained in a beautiful box, again made of wood, these toys are part play thing and part art. They are beautiful and interesting enough to be appreciated by children and adults alike. And with a price tag of nearly $500, they should be!
They are both available from Nova68.c0m
There are a lot of really cool toys out there these days – shape-shifting Transformers, monsters that make all sorts of noises, Lego creatures – but I don’t think any of them have the cool factor that the MunnyWorld Toys do. Sure, they don’t sing or dance, and they can’t really move around too much, but they have something that most other toys on the market just can’t compete with … the ability to become anything you want them to be. That’s right, anything! Munnyworld Toys have this great power because you buy them as a blank slate, in the color of your choice, and design them to become the creature of your dreams. Each package even comes with mystery accessories, stickers, and markers.
The possibilities are endless …
Born of the hands of furniture and lighting designer David Weeks, meet the Cubebot. He (or she) was inspired by traditional Japanese Shinto Kumiki puzzles. The word kumiki literally means ”to join wood together.” These sorts of puzzles are a very traditional Japanese “brain teaser” toy, as they generally require the discovery of some sort of trick to both assemble and disassemble.
The Cubebot is a non-traditional take on the toy robot, created by joining ancient Japanese traditions with contemporary toy culture. His sturdy hardwood frame can hold many poses, and the elastic-band muscles and durable wood limbs allow Cubebot’s body to stand up to all sorts of rambunctious play. Best of all, when playtime is over, he neatly folds up into an unassuming cube!
As a child, I was never all that into dolls or action figures. I was far more entertained by the act of creation – drawing, painting, sculpting, beading, stamping, and the list goes on and on. But no matter what your, or your child’s interest may be, Zolo toys will satisfy the playful inclinations of any young mind. They offer the best of both worlds – part play figure and part creation.
Zolo toys come in sets. You get a big container of colorful, quirky, patterned pieces (25 – 60 depending on which set you buy), in either plastic, foam, or wood, and you are able to build an infinite number of things. Dream up an alien, an undiscovered animal, a sculptural masterpiece, a hot dog flower, the possibilities are endless! If you buy the “Zolo Blanko” set you are even able to color and design your own pieces. Best of all, it’s hard to get sick of your Zolo creations, because they never have to stay the same. Sounds like fun to me.