Helga Björg Jónasardóttir is a design student at University of Gothenburg in the Child Culture Design department in Sweden. Her piece, playbl, was shown in Milan this year in a group show of fellow students. Playbl, as pictured, is a multifunctional coffee table that fosters the co-existing needs of adults and children at the same time. Below is an interview of the designer by Playable Studio’s Willie Hoffman
You said that you used to change your parents furniture into toys.
What are some examples of how you changed their furniture?
Some examples of memories of play with furniture: My favorite furniture to play with was the coffee table, of which we put one end on the back of a big armchair to turn it into a slide. We put some chairs in a row and it was a bus, we also put some blankets over chairs and it was a tent or a house. I turned a rocking chair upside down and it was the lions cage. One chair was my horse when it was placed on one side. The bed was a ship I sailed on among other things.
How often do you try to recreate the perception you had as a child
when you approach design?
I think I use it more than I realize, I really like the way young children think when their perception is not too influenced by adults and they are have not been told what to think. As an example of that is a true story of three young children exploring a colorful spill of oil on the pavement. After some thoughts and discussion of what that was, one of them suggested that it might be a dead rainbow. Adults would probably not get that idea.
Do you see yourself expanding on the ideas of furniture as play?
Yes possibly, I love to play and I like to create multifunctional projects, with play functions along with other functions.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a few projects at the moment, one is outdoor “hangout” sculpture for teenagers with possibilities of activity and play. Then I am working on one project of recycle or redesign focused on child culture and one project for an exhibition in Sweden where the theme is “evil design” not focusing on children. I am staying in Iceland this summer and taking part in creating some projects there.
Can you explain the design program that you are currently in, as we do
not have anything like it in the United States.