Toolbox for Imagination by Studio Lvwp
Presented: October 2013 Dutch Design Week - 'Objects to Play'

Toolbox for Imagination is a carefully gathered and created collection of objects for you to play with. ‘Tools’ to stir your imagination and help you dream.

But why, oh why?! Because it’s fun, is obviously the most important reason, but there is also a more serious one. Objects, but also intangible concepts like rituals, definitions, standards, etc., often have been with us for such a long time, that we tend to forget they are not carved in stone. Their value and function changes over time. That means that everything can actually be anything, but only if we would allow ourselves to look beyond their presumable meaning. And this is where imagination comes in.

Imagination is synonym for experiment, exploring, playing, being amazed, alternative worlds, and new perspectives. It transforms a seemingly boring object, ritual or whatever, into the most wonderful creature that can walk on water and is as big as a city. Imagination creates space to think, to breathe, and to get beyond the obvious. It makes you more flexible, a kind of brain yoga to loosen up the fixed joints in your head.

In the end something frivolous as imagination and playing is the motor for creativity and thus innovation. And we could use a bit of that right now.

The strength of Toolbox for Imagination lies in thinking with your hands instead of only using spoken or written language. What we often see during brainstorm sessions is a lot of discussion about the definitions of words and how these words are used. By building with objects, you communicate about something tangible. You build metaphors for the visions, dreams, strategies or ideas you have. This way it doesn’t matter anymore whether the addressed topic is concrete or abstract. With the toolbox you have a third medium that helps generating ánd visualising new ideas.

The objects in the Toolbox are all made or chosen because they’re in between abstract and figurative. So on the one hand they are not a blank canvas that don’t trigger anything. On the other hand the objects don’t have a clear function so you can make your own associations. Their material, shape, colour, texture and weight all add to people’s eagerness to touch them.

In the end it all comes down to metaphors. Which objects does someone choose? What does he build? And what story does he tell with it? A design researcher from Lancaster University, specialised in co-design, pointed out that Toolbox for Imagination has the same qualities as Lego Serious Play, a reputable tool that uses Lego to build metaphors as well. Nice coincidence!

Go to to see what people built with the Toolbox during Dutch Design Week 2013.

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