We Live in a Giant Playground and Everything Around Us is a Toyby Yuval Saar | 30.04.15
The first time I encountered THE OFFBITS – the toys studio by designer Roy Barazani and his partner Avner Goren, was in 2011. The two create toys for personal assembling from materials that can be found in any tool box – nuts, bolts, springs and such. All of the pieces are hand painted and packaged, to be manually assembled at home. Through the Kickstarter campaign they launched recently, the two also hope to expand their creation into new products like toys with wheels and more.
“The idea of OFFBITS started while I was playing around with a tool box in one of the exercises I did before I started studying,” explains Barazani. “Throughout my studies I left the robots aside until my final project, in which I built the Robot City that was later presented at various exhibitions and received many good reviews. Back then, I still didn’t have a product that I could sell but I understood that people wanted the robots, and that I needed to develop them.”
Half a year later he established THE OFFBITS, “Robots that had human traits in their distant grey kingdom, and therefore were expelled from it and deported to earth in pieces, as a kit for self assembling. Only then I reached the understanding that I had a big idea worth developing. In the past year we have been selling the piece as a kit for personal assembly with a code to open up a virtual profile and share your creations with a community. We have been receiving wonderful feedback from stores and, as of today, we are out of stock. Through the Kickstarter campaign we wish to achieve larger manufacturing and wider distribution”.
What’s new about the Kickstarter campaign?
“The OFFBITS came to Kickstarter after two years of tests in stores and sales events”, explains Goren, “The feedback we acquired allowed us to develop the new version that we launched in the campaign, that includes many improvements in design, modularity (thanks to the new connectors we developed), gaming abilities and the story line. The initial goal is to raise the funds we need for the creation of 10,000 pieces, and by doing that – to ‘step up a league’ in terms of quantity, quality and manufacturing consistency.
“One of the most exciting concepts OFFBITS has to offer is the ability to enrich its basic kit by adding in pieces from your regular home tool box. We call that concept an ‘Open Code Toy’, and it amazes us to see what new creations people come up with and post online and to our website. That’s another reason that Kickstarter is a great platform for us, because it allows to us to reach an audience of early adopters that will make up the base for our future creators community.”
What are you plans for the future?
“We wish to harness the exposure we gain through the campaign to enlarge our fields of activity by contacting distributors in Israel and abroad. More so, just like there are endless options in the ways you can put together the pieces, that’s how we see endless options to the future of OFFBITS. Our vision is very wide and includes developing new kits, adding technological elements like sensors and hard drive (connected toy), establishing an online community of fans and creators, expanding the storyline into new directions and medias, developing games and apps that are based on that story and concept of the toys, and more and more and more.”
“Our most difficult task is to focus our work towards one or two of these goals (at least for the near future), so we trust the public not only to guide us towards the fields that most interest them, but also to take initiative and take the open platform that we offer as far as their imagination can go. Ultimately we live in a giant playground and everything around us is a toy. That’s the fuel that drives OFFBITS: how to take the possibilities that are open to us at any given moment and make them into something new, cool and exciting.”
– – –
Another version of this post was originally published in Hebrew on http://byfar.co.il and translated by Yuval Regev.