New Designers 07: Detacho Playhouse is a toy developed to teach children about divorce. Designed by Central St Martins College of Art and Design graduate Ben Forman, it features a dolls' house that splits in half.
Detacho comes with sad-faced mother and father figurines that contain repelling magnets, so they cannot be made to kiss (the figures' heads can also be swivelled to reveal smiling faces that magnetically attract, allowing children to role-play a happier ending).
The design is on show at the New Designers exhibition of graduate work in London.
Below is some text from Forman:
The fact that there are currently no existing toys which incorporate family separation brought about the idea of the Detacho Playhouse.
This modern toy is the self initiated project of recent graduate from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Ben Forman. It is a re-configurable toy house which can be separated and made into multiple homes, thus replicating issues such as divorce and the changing make-up of many modern day families.
The house itself is at first sight a singular family home, however it is able to adapt to different make ups and splits down the middle to form two or even three separate homes. It can also be re-arranged to represent more realistic housing such as semi-detached houses and multiple units can form terraced houses.
Its simple design, colours and figures encourage children to use their imagination and it allows them to project their feelings into the playscene. The range of Persona Figures represents new and existing people who may come into the child's life following parental separation such as step-parents and step siblings; thus allowing them to roleplay and imagine them in the playscene.
The magnetic parent figures kiss when their hair is rotated so that they show a smiley face and when their hair is turned to a frown or sad face, they repel; thus moving apart and only kissing on the cheek.
The designer behind the house described how: “it originally began as a comment on the way that toys are today and their often disregard for modern day family make-ups. However I think its defiance of family stereotypes and ability to adapt and change has struck a chord with many families who have been through or are going through issues such as divorce".
The birch plywood house comes flat packed in a box and is assembled by the parents with minimal effort as the panels slide together and are held in place with four screws and bungee connectors. This all enables the house to be easily taken apart and stored when the child no longer wishes to play with the toy, thus de-cluttering our modern day homes and lifestyles.
This product could therefore be seen as a true representation of today’s modern society rather than playing on unrealistic traditional stereotypical nuclear family scenes.
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