Four-Way Blocks (farm animals). Fredun Shapur, designer.
Four-Way Blocks (farm animals)
Four-Way Blocks (farm animals)
Four-Way Blocks (farm animals)

Four-Way Blocks (farm animals)

No place: no publisher, [1972]. Six wooden puzzle pieces, screenprinted in four colors, each piece measuring 8.25 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches. Lightest wear.

Prototype of graphic designer Fredun Shapur’s four-way blocks in a farm animal design developed for Creative Playthings. Shapur designed the first version of these blocks, featuring four simplified, stylized animals, in 1964. They were awarded the London Design Centre label, and picked up by Naef, the Swiss toy company, for manufacture and distribution in Europe. In 1968, Shapur became art director of the American toy company Creative Playthings, where his vision informed every aspect of the company’s image: “Attractive design, high standards of craftsmanship, and well-informed, age-appropriate goods were the qualities that made Creative Playthings an emblem of the ‘good toy’ as it was understood in the postwar years” (Fredun Shapur: Playing with Design, 61). Shapur developed two new variations on the four-way blocks for Creative Playthings, one featuring wild animals, one farm animals. The wild animal blocks were manufactured by Creative Playthings throughout the 1970s, but the farm animal design appears to survive only in prototype sets like this one, with dimensions slightly larger than the proposed product, printed on higher-quality wood, without printed copyright information. Arranged and rearranged, these blocks reveal in turn a blue horse, a green goose, a red chicken, and a brown dog. This set is identical in design and dimensions to the set held by the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was donated by Shapur himself. A wonderful survival.

Price: $750.00

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