Toy blocks are a favorite among adults and children alike. While the puzzles are wonderful for learning spacial relationships, geometry, and balance, they are often a pain to store when not in play. (Who hasn’t unwittingly stepped on a stray piece while walking through the house?) Japanese design firm, Nendo created a set of flat “paper bricks” that retain all the fun of building blocks while keeping them portable, recyclable and safe underfoot! See Paper Bricks in action in the video after the jump.

The set of “paper bricks” were created for Japanese lifestyle magazine, Pen. Readers can take the slips of tricolor blocks and arrange them into configurations that seem three-dimensional. If they are put together just-so, the pieces form a perfect cube. Nendo’s aim was to translate 3D-CAD technology into an analog form.

In addition to being an amusing way to explore optical illusions, the paper bricks appear as great, green updates to tangrams. While they do not have the same mass and texture as real wooden blocks, they are certainly easy to slip into a folder to take on a trip or remain out of the way when it comes time to clean up a play space. Better yet, they can be used as inspiration for kids to create their own sets and begin to explore the world of modular design.

+ Nendo

Images via Ayao Yamazaki