Snego blocks are made from salvaged wood and natural dyes
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Snego building blocks are made using salvaged wood and natural dyes

A pair of Swedish designers have created a set of multi-faceted wooden building blocks that are coloured with fruit and vegetable dyes (+ slideshow).

Snego building blocks

Snego was created by Katarina Hornwall and Gabriella Rubin while the duo were studying their masters at Lund University School of Industrial Design in Sweden.

Snego building blocks

All of the gem-like wooden pieces are unique, and are designed so that each of their flat surfaces allow them to be stacked on top of other Snego blocks.

Snego building blocks

The pieces can be balanced to form precarious-looking towers that look like cairns – rural path markers built from stacks of stones.

Snego building blocks

The bricks are made from birch, pine and oak salvaged from the university's workshops, and have been coloured using natural dyes.

Snego building blocks

The pair soaked the bricks in blueberry, red cabbage, beetroot, lingonberry, wine and red onion peel to change the colour of the wood.

"We wanted to add some colour to the blocks, and got inspired by the old craft of dying textiles with natural ingredients," Rubin told Dezeen. "We think it is important to keep the colours natural as it works well the overall idea and concept."

Snego building blocks

By adapting the acidity of the dye, the pair also achieved different shades of colour using the same ingredient. The pieces were then finished in beeswax and olive oil to set the hue.

"The colour recipes and the design principles for the blocks come from hours of experimenting and playing," said Gabriella Rubin.

Snego building blocks

"Our thought behind Snego is that adults and children alike should have the opportunity to play without focusing on getting a specific result or something figurative," she added. "There are no rules and no right or wrong usage."

Snego building blocks

The duo are working with a Swedish social enterprise on wood production for the bricks. They hope to develop the concept further to explore new colours, as well as set up a supply chain that will use leftover wood and food.

Snego building blocks

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has also created a modelling kit, made up of triangular wooden pieces that can be stacked in a variety of formations.

Snego building blocks

Other alternative building blocks covered by Dezeen include Spanish toy brand Mitoi's colourful bricks that allow children to recreate iconic buildings, and technology company SAM's Internet of Things kit of building modules.