Playing with wooden blocks has been a celebrated childhood pastime for generations. Art director Christiane Nill and photographer Lionel Henriod challenged 100 Swiss designers to summon their inner child, and return to the joy of playing with blocks! The creative results were documented by Henriod and shared in a new book called Let’s Play, which stacks up how adults play, think, and create.
Nill was inspired to create Let’s Play after a family visit to her mother’s home at the holidays, when her young daughter began to play with blocks. As other adults observed Nill’s daughter, they each joined in the block-playing, making their own arrangements alongside one another. Surprisingly, Nill found that each adult’s arrangement was strikingly akin to qualities of his or her personality and style. She decided to test this theory of creativity on Swiss design professionals.
Designers from all creative backgrounds, from architecture to sculpture, art and industrial design, were given a set of classic shaped wooden blocks to arrange into a configuration of their heart’s desire- then have it documented by Henriod for the book. The rules were simple: each designer had access to 270 custom-cut blocks to choose from, which were organized into groupings by shape. With 30 minutes on the clock, each designer could use as many or as few blocks as desired, as long as they included three specific blocks that were selected by the designer before them.
Inside Let’s Play, Nill offers viewers a glimpse into the unrestricted mind of myriad designers, asking viewers to compare and contrast the principles behind each designer’s profession, with their wild abandon in unstructured play.