Icon Magazine - August 2011 July 2011

Ok, I know, we are already in 2013 and it is late... but I woud like to talk about this Icon Magazine number about toys.
The editor's article start with a very famous quote from Plato (wrote in 360 BC): "He who is to be a good builder, should play at building children's houses". Yes, since I start writing about architectural toys in this blog I'm trying to transmit this message and, as usually happen, there is always somebody that already said that long time before you, and in a better way. I'm already used!
Anyway the number 098 of ICON Magazine is a good way in order to enter in this complex and rich world that contains such apparently different and distant items as toys, architecture, design, education, etc...
Indeed the main cover theme is a experience made by the magazine direction giving some Lego Architecture model to several British architects and lets them free to destroy, rebuilt or even melt the Lego bricks into another form or into another ... something else.

Atmos Studio, MAKE studio, Foster & Partners, AOC studio, Adjaye Associate, DSHA studio or FAT studio are the offices involved and each one used Lego in a different and new way. The result, sincerely, are quite disappointing...

More information or some pictures: www.iconeye.com

Matias Bechtold (born 1963)

This post is not even about toys, it is about an artist and his work. Matias Bechtold's works are something that I consider inspiring for everyone that deals with toys for two reasons: the scale and the material. It is something like a paper engineering supported by an Italo Calvino narrative. 

Made by corrugated cardboard their cities evoke scales relations in a view of giant on the urban tissue. Usually without people, his scenarios evoke large cities with skyscrapers and strong scale differences. The use of this kind of cardboard creates a strange monochromatic atmosphere that sometimes remember some "after war" stage or some kind of desert city.

One of the interesting aspect is the use of corrugated cardboard material characteristics in order to achieve pattern effects and scale definition through the design of windows and levels separations in the buildings. Also the streets and the railways are made using the material texture. 

More recently Matias Bechtold worked on the “Im Inneren der Apparate” (On the inside of machinery) project that explore some kind of "inner" architectural point of view building cities with their own detailed interiors.This work is also using recycled material as plastic boxes, televisions or vacuum cleaner in order to create interior complex spaces with a really futuristic and technical look.
Indeed exist, in the Bechtold's works, some kind of exploration around the basic architectural composition elements that exist in the best architectural toys. In fact one of the most important aspct in the toy design is precisely the complexity reduction in order to keep the nature of the object without the "too much information" effect.