Children invariably love cardboard boxes and packaging, often more than the contents which fill them, as playthings and toys. Now there is a children’s toy made entirely from cardboard.
Meet Reggie the Eco Rocker, a rocking horse made from cardboard and therefore completely ready to recycle when outgrown or worn out.
Reggie is the work of Shell Thomas, based in Tower Hamlets and a design graduate of London Metropolitan University. Reggie comes ready to assemble in a flat pack and is aimed at children aged three to six.
The design is already proving to be a success. Last month, Shell won the innovation award for Reggie from “Not on the High Street” – the online marketplace for small independent businesses selling unique products. It is also currently appearing at a top design festival in Melbourne, in Shell’s native Australia. Reggie will also be on display at the London Design festival in September. She is already in demand as a designer, creating window displays for the fashion and gift chain, Oliver Bonas last year.
Born in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia, Shell, 30, was raised in what she describes as a “reasonably free-spirited” environment. Her grandmother taught her how to sew, and she developed a love for art and design from a very young age. “I’ve always really loved… well, things”, she said. “I know pretty much everyone likes stuff, but I became aware of how much art and design had quite a strong hold on me early on. I got right into home-wares, interior products and kitchen gadgets.”
Talking about the power of recyclable products in the making of art and design pieces, Shell said: “There’s something even more valuable, as a designer, than building products which are recyclable. That’s building products, which last a lifetime. This is how the idea for my product, Reggie the Eco Rocker came about. Traditional, hand-crafted wooden rocking horses are beautiful, inspiring objects which last a lifetime, but they’re not accessible to everyone and I wanted to create an alternative to the plastic, throw-away versions that many parents resort to for their kids.”
She studied for a business degree in the Netherlands while travelling around Europe, moving to London in 2003 before embarking on her studies at the LMU.
Her ultimate dream is to open her own shop: “I always say that I’d quite like to have a shop, with a lovely, curated collection of stuff and a friendly cafe inside, but I do believe in adventures taking their own course, too.”
She added: “It’s fair to say that it’s a difficult time to be looking for work in the design industry. However, I also think that tough times can be great for starting out on your own if you have some ideas and are willing to work hard and put yourself out there.”