Nik Bentel reshapes chalk to create architectural drawing toys for children
New York designer Nik Bentel has reimagined the humble chalk stick as toys in various shapes so that budding artists and architects can draw hatching, dots and circle patterns.
Bentel, who grew up in a family of architects, developed the Chalk Drawers set as a playful way for children to engage with architecture and design.
Currently on display in the store at New York's New Museum, the collection comprises three unusually shaped versions of the typically cylindrical tool. Each creates markings based on those found in architectural drawings: hatching, circles and dots.
"The chalk drawers are architectural drawing toys made entirely out of chalk," said Bentel in a statement. "They are designed to create original patterns that are geometrically precise."
"The reason for this is to give the user tools to create the three fundamental building blocks of drawing," he added.
Among the collection is the Circle Drawer, shaped like a spinning top with ridged sides. It is designed to be rotated across a blackboard to create five concentric lines.
The spines of the Line Drawer are splayed so that its marking is more like a squiggle. Bentel said that this tool could also be used to draw musical staff lines.
Bobbles protrude across the surface of the round Dot Drawer so that when it is rolled over a surface it makes dotted patterns, similar to those attributed to concrete in architectural drawings.
Bentel first modelled the trio of chalk implements on a computer, and then 3D-printed the designs. From these he created urethane moulds, into which the chalk mixture is poured inside and left to set. The moulds then separate into two parts to release the finished product.
"Chalk is a widely available material that has been in use for thousands of years," said the designer, who has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund wider production of the toys. "Just about every shape and use has been tried with chalk."
"In order to reimagine an original use, I had to reimagine its structure through modern manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing," he added. "There was also a good amount of manual postproduction work that went into getting the designs perfect."
The Chalk Drawers were created by Bentel as part of his residency at the New Museum's design incubator, New Inc. He also recently tried to pass off his naked body as a furniture collection in another experiment, while previous project involved chewing pieces of wood to create a functional stool.