Marc Castelló is the designer and founder of Mitoi, a small company that designs unique, innovative toys to spark kids imagination. First with Miciti and Miworld, and now with Miclick, his playthings encourage play that involves building and creativity.
It has been a great pleasure to talk to Marc and discover his creative process and philosophy. Enjoy the interview!
How did you become a designer?
When I was a child I always played with construction games, cars, bicycles, but many times I played building my own toys, like a gun or road and garage for my cars.
During summers, when I was on school holidays, I spent a lot of time on a motorcycles garage looking the bikes, the engines, looking the mechanics working on the bikes. It could maybe be the start of my interest in pieces, observing in detail motor parts and how those pieces are assembled on bikes, how they work with each other and what is the sense of this function; in fact, there is a construction game when a mechanic is assembling a motorbike or a bike.
Furthermore, I have always liked objects from a toy or a chair to a car or a house. In fact, I love all the objects that have their own soul. For me, the most important point is to understand the sense of the objects and their function and I always trying to understand this sense in all the things in my life.
And the most important for me is that everything can be reinvented, with a critical spirit, being an observer and curious of our society, knowing more about the relation between humans and objects; I could reinvent daily objects, toys or whatever. For me it is very important to try to read and see the future, not to follow current tendencies.
Why do you design toys for kids?
Because I love them, I love toys; in fact, I’m an adult but I have a kid inside me. In addition, when I finished Industrial Design studies I worked for many years designing children products getting much experience on toys, toy safety and toy market.
But the most important of my decision is to offer to kids something different, something educational, and help them to develop, to expand their creativity. The toy market is full of toys without soul and I would like to design toys with their own soul, with their own sense, objective and personality.
You work with different materials. Which raw material do you prefer? What criteria do you follow when you’re choosing a material for a new product?
Plastic, for sure. I’m a fan of futurism rules of XXth century, which base their beliefs in Industrial procedures. It depends on the toy; I chose plastic or wood, but plastic gives me more possibilities on design, more freedom when I think about the shape of the product. Furthermore, plastic is a safe material for kids. I also design thinking of plastic maybe because I’m a lover of Industrial procedures more than the handmade procedures, and it could be another criterion to design in plastic, I’m a fan of Industrial processes.
Wooden is another material I love, but it doesn’t give me all the characteristics I request for a material to be used in my creations. However, I am always exploring new materials and production procedures to adapt them to my toys and creations.
Your last design is miclik. Can you tell us, how did you find the idea behind the product?
The idea…..when I observe how kids play with construction games, finding (in my opinion) the weak points of this toys and thinking about the way to solve their problems. There are a lot of construction toys in the market (with building guidance), but my intention is giving kids the option to build whatever they imagine not just an object, to build the idea behind it and, most important, explore the way to build it, be curious about how the toy works, understand the functions and then build up.
We always make mistakes in life and we have to learn from them, extract our own conclusions and then do our best to do it better the second time. miclik have the same value, build, practice, explore, fail, try and build. For me, it is important to put on the kids hands something that requires an effort, not with rules or instructions; just a toy to experiment a toy to imagine, not to follow a guideline.
I would also like to build a toy with miclik, not just building objects, cars, animals… for me the key of miclik is the possibility of building garments, from a helmet to a sword, giving the kids a complete creativity experience. An interactive toy, a toy to build their own imaginary world, without limits; Mitoi’s limits is on each kid.
Another point is having a friendly toy, not just pieces without soul like many or just a pieces with colours, I think in a piece with soul to become friendly piece.
To accomplish this, I thought, I have designed a piece with movement, not a static piece, and a piece with soft lines, for this reason. I designed miclik with a hinge and inspired on the nature with organic and fluent lines. With this, I found the way to give to miclik toy the attribute to be a self-foldable toy, a piece similar to a butterfly who can fold itself and connect with other miclik pieces.
Plastic helps me a lot to build miclik, without plastic I won’t add the hinge, also has round corners with a soft finish, and this is important to have a nice touch too.
And what are the plans for the future of Mitoi?
My plans with Mitoi now include expanding the miclik range; miclik has many many possibilities not just as a toy, for me, as a designer, miclik has opened many new ways to explore on toy design. I’m preparing more miclik range for 2017 and my intention is to go to another direction on toys to follow our values: Kids soul, explorer spirit, passionate for toys and be involved in what we do and how we do it.
To get here: Mitoi