Design Collaborative NEL Invites Us to Play (and Think)

NEL is a collective of Mexican designers, focused on experimentation in the realm of storytelling, politics and aesthetic explorations. Playful by nature and focused more on the conceptual side of design, their works include both experimental endeavors as well as large scale projects. Running the gamut in terms of subject matter, I've chosen a few of my favorites for you to peruse below.

Man's best friendMan's best friend

Pack of Dogs takes liberty with interpreting the basic shape of our favorite canine friends, transforming them into fanciful yet also practical helpers. Named after famous Mexican wrestlers (?!), these guardians can hold the morning paper, function as bookends, stools, or act out whatever else your imagination serves up.


This next project highlights miniature soldiers battling across a carpet in the shape of Iraq. Upon first glance, one might characterize the tiny scene as cute and playful; however, the underlying message isn't quite as amusing. As the designers succinctly state: "Through newspapers and television, the image of Iraq is continuously depicted with graphics similar to board games and action figures, giving it a game-like dimension which somehow shifts the character of the war. The rug, with cute little felt soldiers walking on a soft and warm surface, denounces this confusion, and the way in which the tragic reality of war is somehow diluted by using these images." OK, not so cute anymore.

the Iraq projectthe Iraq project


Fill in the Cat  takes things to a lighter level and brings user interaction once again to the foreground. The interplay between cat and bird, along with whatever other props or items the user places into the scene, creates an ever-changing story where the negative space provides a new landscape in which the plot can thicken and characters can unfold.



And finally, bringing us to the project that set it all off for NEL back in 2005 is the Stitch Kit. Beginning with a basic outline of a three-dimensional object, a DIY sewing project magically seems to transform the graphic representation into the real deal.

Sew EasySew Easy

Thumbs up to NEL -- let's hope they keep their fresh ideas coming!

Found via thinkorthwim

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