Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.

Play:Toys, Sets, Rules

05 June - 03 July
Organized by: Systems
Walter Knoll
42 Charterhouse Square


“Play is the serious business of children.” Jean Paiget


Children produce themselves as individual and social beings through imaginative activity. Play is, indeed, the ‘serious business of children’. A similar idea of self-realisation through making and doing could apply just as well to the activity of adults as to what children get up to when the adults are working. In the 1960s and ‘70s a number of designers began to re-think the kind of objects that children need to play well, seeking to recast their own work as designers along similar lines. This resulted in a set of extraordinarily generous, humane and beautiful objects — some of which remain; and a radical project to transform social life by altering two of its fundamental categories, education and work — now largely forgotten.


Play is an exhibition of toys drawn from the personal archives of their designers, Roger Limbrick, Patrick Rylands, Fredun Shapur and Ken Garland, a loosely associated group that emerged in London in the 1960s. A further number of continental designs from the same period have been lent to the exhibition from the collection of Marion Hine, also a contributing designer. Although many of these designers have been published and exhibited individually, this exhibition is the first time their works have been united as a group. Play offers a unique survey of late modernist approaches to child development and design and, as such, a variety of ways in which we might think of both play and design as formative and speculative activities.


Play is part of a programme of exhibitions and events commissioned by Walter Knoll and produced and curated by systems. Walter Knoll are funding the production of Play and hosting the exhibition in their London showroom.


Thinking by Making: Structures

Accompanying the exhibition, and held in the exhibition space, are a series of free workshops for children of ages 7 - 12, designed by Play contributor Marion Hine and developed from a model originally conceived by Hine in collaboration with Roger Limbrick. These supervised workshops will provide initial guidance to children in techniques of card construction, and a range of materials with which their imaginations can run wild.


Workshop Dates

Saturday 6 June

11:30–12:30 and 14:30–15:30

Saturday 20 June 11:30–12:30 and 14:30–15:30



The workshops are offered free of charge; places are limited, therefore booking is essential. To book a place, please email Lizzie Toole at info@systemsproject.co.uk


The exhibition Play and the workshops Thinking by Making: Structures are included within the London Festival of Architecture 2015 programme.London Festival of Architecture runs from 1–30 June www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org


Play: toys, sets, rules

5 June–3 July 2015

Monday to Saturday from 10:00–17:00

Admission free


Walter Knoll


42 Charterhouse Square

London EC1M 6EA

United Kingdom