Make two different colors appear identical, or two identical colors appear different. Then prove it by smooshing them together. That was the problem. My love for woodworking fused with my passion for non-digital children's toys, resulting in a handheld object transforming to prove both sides of Josef Albers' theorem.

Initial concept. Occasionally the final product looks like the first idea.

LEGO bricks make excellent prototyping materials for things like this. Based on the feedback test subjects gave this functional model, I altered the final version's scale to fit smaller hands, discovered the sharp corners felt unpleasant, and emphasized the "snap" of the two halves rejoining to "smoosh" the colors.

Okay, so I might have a minor obsession with LEGO bricks. I swear it makes me smarter.

Ideal for children exploring color principles in an educational setting, Smooshbox makes a fun and intriguing toy on its own. Small affordances carved into its sides guide thumbs to rotate the center blocks; delicately filleted edges treat small hands carefully; knobs protruding above and below each half prevent the object from sitting flat, indicating its need to be played with.

The Smooshbox in action.

In an increasingly digital world, children need more opportunities to experience wonder and mystery in their physical environment. This project stems from that philosophy. Teaching children principles of science and art through toys, games, and puzzles engages their imagination, makes it personal, and builds neural pathways across the brain. Smooshbox's simplicity belies its effectiveness—bringing wonder and delight to its holder.

more Isaac Waring designs:

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