Spielwarenmesse: Quut – The idea that came from the kitchen

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Sandspielzeug Quut Raki in blau und orange im Sand
  Movers & shakers

23. April 2018 / Movers & shakers

Quut – The idea that came from the kitchen

from Ulrich Texter

Design makes innovations visible, transports progress and creates identification. Design is often the only way to distinguish a brand in the sea of the ever-same. But do toy manufacturers also need design to charge their "stuff" emotionally, which is only used temporarily? You feel it at Pars Pro Toto and Quut.

Pars Pro Toto is a full-service agency for product design, strategic brand development and the introduction of innovation projects. The agency from Ghent, founded in 1994, works with the Design Thinking method. The brand Quut was born in the kitchen of the agency.

Several times the office has been honoured for his work, for example with one of the most prestigious design awards in the world, the Red Dot Award. In 2017, the company received the Red Dot Product Award for its toy watering can Cana, which has two distinct, colour-highlighted spouts. The jury based their decision on the fact that Cana has an unusual design, “which gives this toy watering can a high visual independence."

And at this year's ToyAward the Toy Fair stood the 2-in-1 toy Raki, the rake and spade at the same time is on the shortlist in the category Baby & Infant and only had to give precedence to a wooden system toy. Also like Cana Raki impresses with a great visual autonomy. We talked to the designer Wim Van den Hende, Principal Executive and Proprietor of Pars Pro Toto

Mr. Van den Hende, please help us. You are one of the heads of Pars Pro Toto, but Quut, the toy brand, has the same address as the agency. Is Quut the baby of Pars Pro Toto and Manchild your distributor?

Profil von Wim Van den Henden

Wim Van den Hende: Pars Pro Toto is a full-service design agency that specializes in the strategic management and implementation of innovation projects. We have developed innovative products, services, brands and environments for over 20 years. Having great memories of their summers spent at the beach, Pars Pro Toto designers wanted to created toys that would last as long their memories and this is how Quut was born. Quut is thus part of Pars Pro Toto design agency. Manchild is the distributor of Quut Toys in Benelux and Germany.

And where do you produce? We have read that you not only focus on design but also longevity! Is Quut "Designed + Made in Belgium"?

W. V. D. H.: Quut is designed in Belgium but production is made in China.

Garages are usually regarded as innovation labs and kitchens as end stations of parties. What happened to Pars Pro Toto then that you worked on sand toys instead of chairs, which all designers dream of entering the Hall of Fame?

W. V. D. H.: For us, design is not only a noun, it’s even more a verb: to plan; to conceive and plan out; to intend, to have a purpose; to devise a function. We think of design firstly as a verb as the asking of questions (and as a technique to answer them) and secondly as a noun as the character of the answers. Such character can be tangible or intangible. We work multidisciplinary on products, services, product/service combinations, brands and environments. So we’re not focussed on entering the hall of fame with another chair.

We’re focussed on helping our clients to innovate wisely. From a human and technical point of view we know that innovation needs to be user- and human centered. From an economical point of view, we always strive for sustainable competitive advantages. As design- and innovation consultants we work for other businesses and our clients need return on investment. What we promise is summarized in our baseline: Your Growth. Our Design.

What we like most is that we operate in various sectors. For instance the juvenile and toy sector… When launching Quut 5 years ago, we wanted to improve the concept of beach fun and conquer the hearts and minds of children and parents across the globe.

You were dissatisfied with the beach toys available. What was it all about? With the functionality, the material and processing quality or was it just not nice?

W. V. D. H.: We felt there was a lack of innovation in beach toys (always same items in same classical execution), little or no design differentiation, no sustainability (lot of cheap toys that are left behind on the beach after the holidays) and not a lot of premium segment. At the same time we felt that the time you spent with your family at the beach is a time where great memories are made and a moment you share with your children.

Why do you think that aesthetic criteria also play a role in children development? Our experience has been often: the brighter and screaming, the better. But your design is characterized by great clarity and simplicity.

W. V. D. H.: Children do love bright colours and we believe the colours chosen for our range appeals both to children as well as their parents. The functionality of the items (easy of use, versatility of the items) is also a factor that is very important when designing kid’s toys. We believe Quut has a perfect mix of what children love and what parents like.

Beach toys Quut Pira and homemade sand pyramid
Children build with Pira pyramids like the ancient Egyptians.
two Quut watering cans, the big one in white and the little one in orange
the Quut watering can Cane with innovative, playful design

Every year you want to design a new sand toy and launch it on the market. What are you working on right now?

W. V. D. H.: We have launched two new innovative summer toys: Quut Raki and Quut Pira. Raki is a 2 in 1 gardening and sand tool combining both a rake and a spade. Endless learning, creativity and fun is guaranteed in the garden, at the beach, in the sandpit and in the snow! Not only can it be used as a rake or a spade, it can also be used as a funnel, a sieve and a water and sand writing tool, the possibilities are endless!

We are also very proud that Raki was nominated for a Toy Award in preschool category at Nürnberg Toy Fair 2018. Pira is a new sand construction tool that allows you to go back in time and build pyramids like the ancient Egyptians. For 2019 we are working on a new product category that we cannot reveal just yet!


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Author of this article:

Ulrich Texter

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