The work of renowned toy designer Libuše Niklová (1934–1981) has gained notoriety all over the world, thanks in part to recent exhibitions at MoMa in New York, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and now as part of ‘Mini Wonders – Czech Toys Past and Present’ at the London Design Festival.
Libuše Niklová was one of Czechoslovakia’s most important toy designers during the 1960s and 70s. The toys which she designed were lightweight, original and artistic.
Beginning in the 1950s, she revolutionised toy design with her simple plastic forms for Fatra, which were both charming and, at the time, technologically innovative. These toys have now become icons of Czech design, their timeless aesthetics attracting the interest of children and adults alike.
Washable, lightweight and cheap to produce, Niklová, like many of her contemporaries, was inspired by the potential of plastic to produce toys and in 1971 she wrote, ‘in the future products from plastic matter will surround man just like the air and they will become commonplace. Increasingly, natural materials will be a luxury and the object of admiration. The future, however, belongs to plastic.’
Colourful, easy to store and emotionally appealing, her plastic figures and toys are as sweet and charming today as they were during the 60s and 70s. They are a delightful example of Czech product design during the twentieth century and will either evoke a host of childhood memories in those of a certain age or, I’m sure, will arouse a collector’s passion in a new generation of toy enthusiasts.
We were, of course, delighted to hear about the reissue of these iconic toys here at Counter-Print and have a host of Niklová’s inflatable toys available to purchase on our site. See below for some of her creations or check out our ‘Children’s’ section for more retro-inspired toys and games.Buffalo
£8.50, Little Sun