If you’re a fan of the popular Automoblox toys, then this one’s for you. Architect Matteo Ragni organized a list of one-hundred designers and architects to design their own take on the wooden toy car as a part of his 100% ToBeUs initiative. The well-conceived initiative is focused on moving kids away from disposable toys and objects and to learn to better appreciate well-crafted objects. With a sponsorship from Alessi and 100 world-class designers and architects on board, there are most certainly some favorable designs in the mix. Here’s a few of our favorites.

…Born as a Vent Against Current Toys

“TobeUs was born as a vent of a designer who become father and could not stand the view of his own children using toys just for a few hours and then destroying them or stopped looking at them. According to Matteo Ragni the easiest solution is giving children the possibility to love an object. So it is obvious to choose the right material, with a recognizable smell, an unquestioned resistance to impact and texting, and, when the time comes, a dignified end: recycling or reutilization. This is how the idea of TobeUs was born: toy cars made of cedar wood, strong and sweet-scented, beautiful and clever because they are planned by skillful and passionate designers.”


You would be hard-pressed at any age to not appreciate a well-designed simple toy—particularly of the wooden variety. With today’s generation of kids being constantly bombarded with the latest action figures, dart guns, and apps, it’s refreshing to see a line of modern wooden toys that bring the best of yesteryear’s simplicity with modern design to meet today’s expectations. Each six inch car is made from a single block of cedar and is made by Italian craftsman based on the designs from the one-hundred contributors.

Does anybody else feel like we need to bring back shop class in schools now more than ever?

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The collection of wooden roadsters is currently a traveling exhibition and will be in Toronto at the Design Exchange through February 9th, 2014.

(Images via ToBeUs)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.