Sabelle Bibal


Bachelor of Design Craft Packaging Publication Social Design Design history Education

Imagine. Create. Learn. Play.

Abstro is an educational toy that extends the boundaries of play blocks, with each set of shapes inspired by design movements from the past. The product explores and enhances creative skills such as puzzle-solving, storytelling, artmaking, composition, representation, abstraction, and collage, helping the user to be aware of the objects that make up their environment and curating a foundation for future appreciation of form, shape, and space.

My project explores a mixture of graphic and product design to emphasise the importance of nourishing creativity through sensory interactions. This project is about creating a brand and a product that is unique, fun, and encouraging for many children and creatives. Many of us have become reliant on digital technology leaving the old ways of enhancing our creativity behind. Children are now given tablets at such a young age exposing them to a limitation of discovery. The purpose of Abstro is to be used as a tool to problem solve, limit creative block, and discover new ways of seeing and interacting with objects.

The design project infuses what we see as a basic set of blocks but with a modern twist. Each set of blocks is inspired by a post-modern design movement. Upon my research, I have identified Bauhaus, Art Deco, and Memphis as a standout amongst the other design movements from the past. What is seen through the first edition of Abstro, is that this set of blocks is inspired by the Memphis Design Movement from the 1980s. A few of the key features of Memphis are the bold use of geometric shapes, stylised graphic patterns, contrasting palettes, and abstract squiggles exhibiting a playful and funky design that can capture anyone’s attention. By incorporating information from design history, it becomes a starting point that creates a basis and a ground purpose for young users, adults, designers, and artists to discover the diverse array of our history.

While working on this project, my main drive was to create and produce as many prototypes as possible. During the process of creating, and inventing I had a lot of opportunities to work with many of AUT’s creative facilities such as the 3D Lab and the Bindery. I discovered that seeing the design come to life and, being able to interact with the objects became the key to refining my work.