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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Before I had Lego I had Playplax (Status: thrilling find for me)

Maybe two years ago I was reading Dwell magazine when I spied a small, multi colored sculpture on a coffee table in a picture.  The sculpture brought back a looooooong ago memory of a toy from my childhood, whose name I could not remember, and I have been looking for that toy ever since that day.

Fast forward to the present and there I was taking a quick look around the Volunteers of America on Indianola; I was passing by the games and puzzles section when I spotted the box and finally I knew I had found that dimly remembered toy from my childhood.  Playplax was invented in 1967 by Patrick Reynolds, an instructor in design at Hornsey College of Art in England.  Playplax went on to sell a million sets, won the Design Center of London award and the Duke of Edinbrough's prize for elegant design

This is a very simple toy that was not meant to reproduce buildings or objects, like Lego, but to stimulate the imagination.  All of the pieces are made of transparent primary colored (coloured) polystyrene plastic in two basic shapes, squares and rings (rings were introduced in 1968).

You could combine them, as well.
This set was supposed to contain forty-eight squares and twenty-four rings but alas, while the twenty-four rings are all present, I only have thirty-two  squares.
I made this quick, and not very elegant, sculpture to show you all of the ways that the pieces can fit together.
I have also discovered that just last year a company reintroduced Playplax, but only the original squares.  They are even using the exact same factory that produced the original Playplax and that factory is using the original dies and molds.


  1. I remember those. You can make cool sculptures with them, still.

  2. Interesting. I've never seen those before.