This animal collection won René Šulc the Public’s Award at the Annual Prize Announcement of the Czech Grand Design for the Year 2010, organized by the Academy of Design. Šulc graduated from the Prague-Žižkov Secondary School of Applied Arts, majoring in toy-making and wood-carving. Afterwards, he studied design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Zlín and Prague. He co-founded the Inveno Studio that specializes in designing furniture and lighting fixtures.
The “Africa” collection of toys combines a traditional theme with new production methods. To produce the ensemble, Šulc employed CNC tooling that allows for precision manufacturing through computer-controlled data. In the final result, stylized rounded shapes of an organic character are achieved that facilitate various options for movement. While the wheels move in the usual manner, the ingenious joint mechanism allowing for movement in all directions is truly unique and fulfils both a functional and decorative function. By changing the mutual position of both parts of the animals’ bodies, the toys’ appearance changes, too, which is a fun way to arouse children’s imagination. The moderate monochrome colouring was inspired by the safari style palette.
This toy ensemble is a nice example of how a traditional assignment can be topically rendered, with the employment of modern technologies to the benefit of a contemporary visual expression as well as a timeless quality.