Before Stanley was even born, Fiona and I were adamant that we didn’t want our home to be full of brightly coloured plastic tat fresh from Toys R Us.
Of course, it’s not that simple – these primary coloured plastic demons find their way in – no matter how hard you try to keep them out!
Wherever possible, we’ll seek out the wooden alternatives and, better still, when there’s a well-designed, minimal and contemporary option, we’ll grab it with both hands.
Being avid enthusiasts of modern architecture, contemporary living and clean minimal lines, just imagine our excitement when we discovered the work of Laurence Calafat. Laurence launched cinqpoints to create beautifully crafted, contemporary toys, homewares and stationery – wholly inspired by architecture. Stanley and I enjoyed playing with our set of Factory Archiblocks on Saturday morning – which is rather fitting, given we live in a factory.
We invited Laurence to answer a few questions and to tell us a little more about the passion behind this now world-renowned venture.
Bobby asks Laurence:
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from France. I grew up near Paris, then I moved to the south. I live in Montpellier where there is such a beautiful light. I’ve got two kids – Carles (11) and Léonie (3) – they are both my favorite partners in cinqpoints. As I work at home, it’s very much a family affair. Léonie loves to say hi during my Skype meetings – everyone knows my little assistant!
What’s your background?
I am an architect. I studied architecture, before working in different studios and then I had my own studio. It was here where I decided to create something different to pure constructive architecture, but keeping the architecture field focus. cinqpoints was born.
You clearly have a passion for architecture – tell us a little more about why you started cinqpoints.
I realised when I was traveling with my son that he was very interested in architecture and architects’ work. When we were visiting a masterpiece of architecture like the Thermes de Vals (Peter Zumthor), he really tried to understand the space, the details – he asked millions of questions about how it was made and so on. So, I realised that architecture could really interest kids and I created Iconic. Iconic (a happy family card game) was the first cinqpoints project. It remains one of my favorites. It was created less than 2 years ago.
How did you fall in love with architecture and why?
I fell in love with architecture before studying it. A friend who was an architecture student had just finished a house model for school. He explained to me his plan, his ideas of what the space should be like and the light. I listened to him and realised I had found something I loved. I asked him to take me to the architecture school for a visit. He did it, I passed the exam and I became an architecture addict!
If you had to choose one single architect who has provided a source of inspiration for you personally – who would it be and why?
To me Carlo Scarpa was an absolute genius of the details – everything a student has to learn about architecture is in his work. He took care to respect history and to create timeless architecture. Timelessness in architecture and design is an important leitmotif.
Which of your products is your personal favourite and why?
Always the next one 😉
Which is the most popular product with your customers?
Iconic is the most popular because it appeals to kids and parents alike. Some kids colour in the cards and some parents put them in to a frame, just like a poster.
What is the future for cinqpoints?
I don’t know and that’s why it’s so exiting to me. I’ve got thousands of ideas, but I have to keep in mind that the primary point is how to play with architecture. Each project has to answer that simple question.
Do you have any new products in the pipeline and / or any other exciting plans / developments?
The new project I’m working on is to learn much more about the volume and how to transform something flat into a volume, just like an architect. Work is in progress…