Concave-Convex: The Perfect Blend of Tradition and Playfulness

Rediscovering the Beauty of Mortise and Tenon Blocks

Traditional Chinese culture meets modern playtime with the innovative design of Concave-Convex, a set of mortise and tenon building blocks created by the Shanghai Art and Design Academy.

Derived from the ancient Luban lock and inspired by the mortise and tenon structure of Chinese traditional culture, Concave-Convex aims to encourage children over the age of one to engage in the free assembly of simple mortise and tenon structures. By simplifying the intricate details of traditional mortise and tenon, this design provides a unique and educational play experience.

Featuring a total of 211 pieces, the Concave-Convex building blocks are crafted from dark black walnut wood for the tenons and light beech wood for the mortises. The set includes 30 simplified tenons and mortises, such as square dovetail and T-shaped tenons, carefully selected to be suitable for young children. Through the process of finding the perfect partners for each tenon, children not only have fun but also learn the wisdom of the ancients.

The realization of Concave-Convex involves a combination of woodworking machine carving and meticulous manual detail processing. This ensures the accuracy of the mortise and tenon joint clearance, striking the perfect balance between a snug fit and ease of assembly. The manual polishing process adds an extra touch of craftsmanship, resulting in a high-quality and visually appealing product.

Concave-Convex offers three levels of difficulty to cater to different age groups and skill levels. The basic version, suitable for children over 18 months old, focuses on color matching and understanding the concept of the mortise and tenon structure. The advanced version, designed for children over 3 years old, encourages the assembly of multiple basic mortise and tenon pieces to create various forms, stimulating their imagination and creativity. Finally, the high-level version challenges children over 6 years old to construct complex structures, enhancing their spatial imagination and logical reasoning abilities.

With its emphasis on traditional culture and educational play, Concave-Convex is a testament to the Shanghai Art and Design Academy's commitment to promoting creativity and learning. By incorporating the beauty of mortise and tenon into a playful toy, this design not only entertains but also nurtures young minds.

Concave-Convex is a proud recipient of the Bronze A' Design Award in the Toys, Games, and Hobby Products category. This prestigious accolade recognizes the design's outstanding creativity and resourcefulness, showcasing its technical and artistic excellence. By seamlessly blending art, science, design, and technology, Concave-Convex contributes to the improvement of quality of life, making the world a better place.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Sha Yang
Image Credits: Xiaoyang Feng Huan Liu Sha Yang
Project Team Members: Sha Yang
Project Name: Concave-Convex
Project Client: Sha Yang

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