Two-Headed Toys

Leather and Jute Toys by Renate Muller

I hon­estly don’t think I could ever name just one favorite toy designer but Renate Müller and her ther­a­peu­tic play­things will always be among my top five. I love the sim­plic­ity of her toys, the size, the shapes, the mate­ri­als, the color com­bi­na­tions, every­thing in fact. You may remem­ber my ear­lier post fea­tur­ing a few of Renate’s hand puppets.

I guess I’m still a big kid at heart (I hope so!). I have to say that I am pretty excited about shar­ing a few sur­pris­ing images of Renate’s lat­est work, cur­rently on show at R & Com­pany design gallery in New York. Have any of you been yet?

Double-Face Jute & Leather Seal Toys by Renate MullerDouble-Face Seal
avail­able from r & company

Renate was asked to cre­ate 26 new pieces for her sec­ond solo show at R & Com­pany. As many of you will already know, her first toys were designed for ther­a­peu­tic use with dis­abled chil­dren. The sig­na­ture mate­ri­als of her per­sonal line, which she started in 1978, are jute, wood and leather. She con­tin­ues to work with those today.

Double-Face Jute and Leather Toy Hippopotamus-Rhinoceros by Renate Müller

Double-Face Hippopotamus-Rhinoceros
avail­able from r & company

Renowned for her stocky, sturdy ani­mal toys, crafted almost single-handedly, Müller’s new crea­tures are play­ful, col­or­ful and sur­real. Sure we rec­og­nize the rhino and hippo, but now they are bonded as one. A toy for two with two dif­fer­ent heads – that spells dou­ble fun for me!

Two-Headed Jute & Leather Turtle by Renate Muller

Two-Headed Tur­tle
avail­able from r & company

Appar­ently inspired by the birth of a two-faced tur­tle in Texas last year, Renate has added an ele­ment of fan­tasy to her ever-growing soft toy menagerie. Two-sided seals sit amongst two-headed tur­tles and some strangely appeal­ing two-tailed hip­pos and seals have no head at all!

Double-Face Hippopotamus by Renate Muller

Double-Face Hip­popota­mus
avail­able from r & company

R & Company’s exhi­bi­tion also focuses on Renate’s col­lab­o­ra­tive work with her 15-year long busi­ness part­ner artist Bernd Ruck­ert. Müller actu­ally devotes most of her time to design­ing play­grounds and kinder­gartens now, and sev­eral new col­or­ful instal­la­tions are on show in New York. This is some­thing I’d love to know more about, and I thor­oughly enjoyed read­ing Mon­ica Khemsurov’s arti­cle online.

Play Sculpture by Renate Muller

Play Sculp­ture
avail­able from r & company

Red Jute and Leather Hippopotamus Toys by Renate Muller

Renate Müller’s sec­ond solo exhi­bi­tion at R & Com­pany, New York, runs from 18 March — 26 April 2014. Visit the R & Com­pany web­site for more information.