Behind any mechanical approach to the creation of artifacts, what transcends cultures and historic time is the Spirit that the artifact contains. What makes a product wanted is not the aesthetics of Form but the aesthetics of Value, or more specifically, Play Value.

In coining the term ToolToy I have tried to emphasise the importance of re-examining the process of design from the perspective of a behavioral model in which play and the values play represents have a major role.

ToolToys are products that satisfy not only the requirements for functional tools, but also give the user pleasures associated with toys. Tool represents the function and a form of need; Toy represents desire or spirit. Whereas the functionality of a tool is judged by its efficiency, by how it gets the job done, the measure of a Toy lies in its potential for creating a relationship, either between user and Toy, or among users. Relationships are, by their very nature, emotions.

Design is not only what the object gives you (the aesthetic of form); it is also what you can give back to the object. Design becomes once again a relationship of purpose. In a ToolToy, form follows the spirit of the relationship and in effect, becomes "it". Form Is the Spirit of the Relationship. The user's relationship with the object is the design outcome; it determines whether a knife will be a weapon or a tool for buttering bread at a dinner party, if a ball will bounce or be used as a projectile. One (Tool) does not follow the other (Toy). It is both.
ToolToy is a Conceptual Framework.

ToolToy: Tools with an element of play
Dansk Design Center, Copenhagen.
ISBN 87-87385-39-2

© 2021 Alexander Manu