Architect Damien Murtagh has created a reusable three-dimensional modelling system for architects and designers that is now on sale as a children's toy, prompting comparisons with iconic Danish building blocks Lego.
Frustrated with computer-generated models, Damien Murtagh decided to create a more tangible and three-dimensional system he could use to share his ideas with clients. The result is Arckit: a modular system made from moulded ABS plastic. The pieces click together, and can be disassembled and used again when the model has served its purpose.
"For many people, 3D modelling images are very difficult to fully understand," Murtagh told Dezeen. "A physical model is much easier to comprehend. With Arckit you don't need to spend months learning a complex and expensive software either, you just open the box and go."
"Unlike traditional cut-and-glue model making, which is totally inflexible once built, Arckit's snap-together system allows continuous modifications and enables client participation in the design process," he added.
The kit, which is at 1:48 scale, was originally designed for professional architects and was launched at the 2014 Grand Designs Live event in London.
"I developed Arckit as a professional tool for architects, however I always believed that by removing the difficulties associated with traditional model making – measuring, cutting, gluing and sticking – it had the potential to open up advanced model making to everyone," said the architect.
At the launch, Murtagh found that children were just as responsive to the building blocks so decided to expand the target market.
"Children as young as nine stayed and made wonderful models for hours and then begged their parents to buy them a kit. I realised then how captivated they were by the system and how it could have a wider application in the toy sector."
A set of over 200 pieces, including modules to represent walls, windows and even furniture, is now available to buy at Harrods, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The system is already drawing comparisons with the hugely popular Lego, according to Murtagh.
"We constantly hear people, on their first impressions, referring to Arckit as a sophisticated/advanced/adult/posh Lego or a 'reality Minecraft' which for me is a massive compliment," said Murtagh. "We're just a new company with a new concept, so to be even uttered in the same sentence as an iconic brand such as Lego is a huge honour."