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Recently, in Barcelona, the designer Máximo Tuja aka Max-o-matic found a balloon by chance and drew a funny face on it, mocking a nasty guy he'd met that morning. Because he and his colleagues all got such a kick out of it when he showed it to them, he started drawing new balloon characters in the following weeks. As he realized how contagious the idea was, and that other designers could have as much fun designing the balloons as he did, Max-o-matic founded the project "Latex for Fun". He invited designers from all over the world to follow his example and make characters using balloons or other latex objects such as gloves or condoms.
The book Latex for Fun presents highlights from this wonderfully wacky project in which 135 designers from over 20 countries participated; 88 of these designers are represented in the publication. Their work reflects various styles, personalities and cultures, but all of it shows how vibrantly creative the collaboration of a spontaneously generated global design network can be. Whether they are admiring the balloon astronauts, balloon terrorists or a sad balloon girl whose balloon boyfriend just popped, readers will be more and more amazed at each page of Latex for Fun at the original results designers can put together by very simple means.
In a time when designer toys are being speculated upon on the market much like stocks, Latex for Fun is a refreshing reminder that toys created by designers are not just for collecting. As the "first disposable designer toys on earth", these balloons in Latex for Fun won't subvert the market for vinyl figures, but all of the participants in the project sure had fun trying.
Latex for Fun
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