Sunday, May 17, 2015

Design Festa 41: Indie Toys

This weekend's Design Festa presented an interesting array of sights. There were quite a few indie toys, concentrated in a small number of booths and booth groupings.

We've seen this before, but the trend has accelerated. So, for instance, the Jungle booth led a long row of booths including many makers, especially from Osaka. Not far away, there was another row of booths containing OneUp, Max Toy, Blobpus (who shared a space with Paul Kaiju), etc. The Japanese makers in this group are all based in the Tokyo area. I suppose it makes sense that you're going to present alongside the people you see the most.
Lots of character in this booth!
There was a lot of booth sharing, so much so that the small number of total tables belied the massive assortment of toys available. A few makers, including Undead Toys and Galaxy People, staked out their own spaces. Interestingly, I found their displays to be the most involved, with more work going into very well presented displays and toy arrangements. It makes sense that if you're the only toy maker in an area, you need to work harder to stand out. They did a great job.
Live painting

Once again, besides vinyl toys, I made an effort to scope out toy and craft makers working in other materials. Often, Design Festa is their main chance to shine on the show circuit, and I wanted to both expand our horizons while giving them their due attention. This time, I came across some beautiful work done in wood, felt, found/mixed materials, and even balloons!
Sleestaks live!
So, let's get on with the photos, with the makers arranged alphabetically. For the makers appearing on KK for the first time, I've listed their online homestead (which include many types of places these days, ranging from websites to blogs to tumblrs to Facebook pages) so you can learn more about them. OK, here we go.

Balloon Milk
 More after the jump:

Stunning balloon dress!

Black Rabbit

All of Kaji-san's offerings were customs of Paul Kaiju toys.

Dol Roffo

Galaxy People
Fantastic display!

Mini mashups

Green Cow Garden
Felt maker. Twitter: @greencow00

Their brochure has info about a shop and gallery called Ca*n*ow Forest. Website:

Another shop and gallery is called the How House. Website:

Ikeuchi Products
This interesting maker transforms found objects and old appliances into dioramas and magical creations. Tumblr:

Twitter: @ik_products

Now that's a way to repurpose an old smartphone!

Jungle & Friends

New line of sofubi creations being put out by Jungle. The line starts with 9 figures, with plans to expand to 12 sometime this year.


New figure: Mogurrel

Kuroiwa Tadashi
Super-fun and well-crafted wooden toys. Blog:


Amazing new figure. I believe it was just being previewed at the show.

More Steampunk goodies
Masataro Toys
Interesting mixed materials maker. Blog:

Loving the little house!

Max Toy Co.

Mimimi No Torino
More beautiful felt work. Blog:

This pic went weird, but I like it.

Lemur see what you got in that bag!

Pah-tay at the Big Sight!

Omega was quite a sought after figure!

I like these little dudes.

Paul Kaiju

This is Gobo King. I took a bunch of pics and will do a focus post a bit down the road.

Rampage Toys

This is a one-off.

Gacha figures
Exquisite glass work. Facebook:


Another fun balloon maker! Apparently the figures will last around a month before the air leaks out. I kind of appreciate that transitory nature of the medium, but it would also be sad to see a figure you like deflate.


What a hat!!

Undead Toys

I believe this is a new figure.


And that's a wrap. There's always something new and fun, thoughtful, mind-blowing, or inspiring (or some combination) to experience at Design Festa!


Toy_Life said...

Killer coverage as always Andy! Glad to see that so many of the smaller guys get the same weight at the big houses. Jungle, overall has been on my radar since they started their artist collective series, Shimomoku and uky Daydreamer being my faves. Their new line is really quite something, hoping to get my hands on some! Love everything that Dol Roffo does. I thought FTWR, Meemie and Mad Barbarians were also at the fest, been really digging their new lines of keshi works

andy b said...

Glad you enjoyed the report!

Jungle really impressed this time and seems to be going full steam ahead with the new line of original minis.

I don't think I saw those other makers, but it would have been easy to miss them if they weren't in one of the main booth groupings.

Bee said...

I've said this many times and I'll say it again: thanks for the coverage Andy, always top notch!

Bee said...

As always top notch coverage Andy, thanks for all the work you put into this!

andy b said...

Very kind - thank you!

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