Return to childhood with Alberto Marcos’s workshop in the Master of Product Design Labs

Alberto Marcos (Madrid, 1973), architect and creative director of Ninetonine, is specialist in child furniture design. In less than a week, he has been able to instill students with certain techniques of retrospection to get gratifying results in this field with students of the Master of Product Design Labs.

Students used wood as essential material to create prototypes of products and toys for children between 3 and 5 years of age.  In all of them, his vital experiences and his identity as designer should be present. We talk with the students Laura Roca and Marcela Cáceres to talk about their experiences and sensations after this workshop.

How has your conception of the child furniture design changed after this workshop?
L: Truthfully, I had very little experience working with children. Moreover, I believe to remember that I don’t like them in the least, but this workshop, of just only a week, has kept my mouth shut. It is an exciting field, full of histories to discover.

M: I loved to discover that the simplicity can be immersed within the child furniture design. In this market, a person is being always bombarded by thousands of colors, shapes, elements and complicated concepts. But with this workshop the vision was the contrary and connected perfectly with my design style. The child product design does not have to be simplistic in concept and complicated in execution. This field can be conceptually rich and has a simplest execution that leads to the use of the imagination, which favours children development.

What potential has wood for the child design?
L: Wood has great potential, because it is a warm, soft and natural material.   A material with many possibilities of use and production, apart from being aesthetically incredible.

M: I think that its potential is enormous. It is a material that can be used, touched and manipulated. Children need elements which are able to withstand their sometimes rough treatment and one that awakes their senses. Wood has these properties and moreover, it is simple and elegant, what makes it has the potential to turn into an interesting element in the home.

What design strategies has you followed up to find your prototype? Is your childhood vision or your own identity represented in it?
L: The strategy that we used for its design was to make a time-space retrospection, placing ourselves in the first memories of our childhood to lead a concept related to our own experience as children. Through this methodology, we achieved to go into our own past and to develop a series of alternative creative exercises in a normal process of design. In the case of Laika (my project name), I tried to give life to many of my childhood experiences (the game of the broken telephone, to walk stepping on an adult’s feet or the kaleidoscope, among others), turning them into a series of objects that give child the freedom to play with his creativity.

M: We brought memories from the past to take inspiration, flew through ideas, land on a concept, sketch the design and go mad in the workshop creating the prototype. During the first part of this workshop, I remembered things that made me happy and I wanted to incorporate them into my product. I believe I achieved it, I am happy with the final result. If I had my family here, this prototype would be in the room of a small child.


Program Leader: Clive van Heerden.
Start: January 2014.
Schedule: Monday to Friday, from 9. 30 to 18.00 h, distributed into lessons, tutorials, research and trips.
Language: the lessons are taught in English.



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