SAFE: Design Takes On Risk

Twan Verdonck, Neo Human Toys. Tummy (warm belly monkey) from the Boezels collection. 2001

Fake fur, cotton, and cherry stones, 23 5/8 x 18 7/8 x 8 5/8" (60 x 48 x 22 cm). Manufactured by De Wisselstroom, The Netherlands (2005). Lent by Neo Human Toys, Photo by Anke Adriaans at Bubbles Visuals

CURATOR, PAOLA ANTONELLI: The Boezels are a amazingly beautiful and sweet series of 17 fuzzy, soft or fragrant or warm objects that are meant to sensorily stimulate children that have psychological disabilities or impairments. Something beautiful about this program is that Dutch Twan Verdonck, and his father actually, work with children and with adults that have disabilities. They work in connection with a local hospital that guides them through the needs that these people might have, so every single object is really aimed at real problems that people with mental disabilities have.

And it's about giving children solace by making them either recognize themselves in a doll that has a mirror instead of a face and also emits a pretty wonderful fragrance, or being hugged tight by a sort of Chewbacca animal that is furry and warm.

[SFX: BOEZEL CHIRPING]

Or… the object that looks like a pretty fat sparrow that emits a sound when the thread is pulled.

So it's a project that is both humane and very imaginative, that shows that security is not only about having food and shelter and warmth, but it's also about first and foremost connecting with your own personality and your own self…. the recognition of one's personality is indeed the ultimate shelter.

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