bird, toy, Scandinavian, wood
Songbird, designed by Kay Bojesen

The brainchild of famous wooden toy designer Kay Bojesen in the 1950s, these colourful Songbirds were produced for the first time in 2012 by Kay Bojesen Denmark. The Songbirds are made of beech wood, and each of the six different colour variants tells a story that relates back to its Danish creator. The blue songbird is named Kay after the designer who would often don a blue suit, and the orange variant is named Pop, after his love of soda pop.

Available at


monkey, wood, toy, Scandinavian, Danish
The Monkey, designed by Kay Bojesen

A design classic created in 1951, Kay Bojesen’s wooden Monkey has become something of a cult toy for Scandinavian design lovers to collect. Danish designer Kay Bojesen was a firm believer in functionalism, and he designed the monkey, along with a series of wooden animals, with the idea that these toys should be round and essentially feel good in one’s hands. 

Available at The Wright Gift 


wood, toy
Shapemaker, designed by Millergoodman

Conceptualised by Brighton-based designers Zoe Miller and David Goodman in 2008, the Shapemaker is an award-winning toy that comprises 25 environmentally friendly hardwood blocks depicting geometric designs. Set to become a new classic, this stylish, open-ended game allows kids (and kidults) to use their imagination to form images of patterns, scenes, people, and animals. 

Available at Strangelets.


wood, toy, gorilla, Hanno
Hanno the Gorilla, designed by David Weeks

A cross between Kay Bojesen’s Monkey and modern action figures, Hanno the Gorilla is a contemporary creation by New York-based designer David Weeks that has found its way into the homes of design lovers and toy collectors alike. Named after a Greek explorer who travelled to Africa 2,500 years ago, Hanno expresses the same virtues – he is brave, strong, and curious. Designed in 2008, Hanno is made of sustainably harvested, new-growth beech wood, making him a hardy heirloom toy.  

Available at The Wright Gift.


Mermaid, designed by Hans Bolling

Inspired by the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a mermaid, Danish architect Hans Bolling fashioned the part-woman, part-fish character as an elegant figure made of oak and maple wood. Manufactured by Architectmade, the Mermaid’s serenity and feminity is brought out by her rounded silhouette and simple lines – archetypal Danish design elements that have helped this toy remain stylish even though it was created in 1960.

Available at Space. 


bird, wood, toy, Danish
Bird, designed by Kristian Vedel

By tilting its head, or pointing its beak this way and that, Kristian Vedel’s Birds can express everything from curiosity to despondency. The Danish designer’s three-generational family of Birds comes in various sizes to represent the adult, child and grandparent, and their ergonomic bodies can also be turned upside down to determine their gender. The Birds were first created in 1959, and continue to be handmade by a small wood turner in Denmark using high-quality smoked and natural oak.  

Available at Xtra, Space, and The Wright Gift.


cards, toy, Eames, mid-century modern, house of cards
House of Cards, designed by Charles & Ray Eames

“Take your pleasure seriously” was an expression the Eameses frequently used in their workplace. They believed that toys were precursors of serious ideas, and the House of Cards demonstrates that perfectly. Created in 1952 for their grandchildren, it allowed users to build complex 3-D structures out of 2-D cards. Each card has six slots that lets it be interlocked with others, letting both children and adults be their own architect and build a city (albeit one made of paper) in a day.

Available at Xtra.


Vitra, wood, doll, Alexander Girad
Wooden Dolls, designed by Alexander Girard

Inspired by folk art from South America, Asia and Eastern Europe (which Alexander Girard had a particular passion for), these playful wooden dolls were initially created by the American designer in 1963 for his own amusement. Vitra has since started to produce a collection of 22 different dolls based on the originals found in the Girard estate, and these quirky characters have been spotted bringing a small dose of fun into homes all around the world. 

Available at Proof Living.