Play: toys, sets, rules

Play was an exhibition of toys held at Walter Knoll, London, in 2015. Its objects were drawn from the personal archives of the designers Roger Limbrick, Partrick Rylands, Fredun Shapur and Ken Garland, a loosely associated group that emerged in London in the 1960s. A further number of continental designs from the same period were lent to the exhibition from the collection of Marion Hine, also a contributing designer. Although many of these designers have been published and exhibited individually, this exhibition was the first time their works have been united as a group. Play offerred a unique survey of late modernist approaches to child development and design and, as such, a variety of ways in which we might think of both play and design as formative and speculative activities.

      The exhibition materials were arranged as elements of a formal game. To allow viewers to engage with exhibits more directly, factual and historical information relating to particular designs and their authors – designer name, date of issue, producer, materials and lender – were removed to a supplementary printed guide.