Having become a parent relatively recently myself, I'm quickly becoming accustomed to the deluge of brightly colored objects that are filling our once minimalist living quarters. Toys are, of course, amongst the worst offenders—many kind and well-meaning family and friends delivering new garish, throw-away plastic play-things with almost conveyor-belt levels of efficiency.
It's little wonder then, perhaps, that I swooned a little on first glance of 'First Gear'—a range of remote control toys developed by London-based V2 Studio. Not only is the range delightfully understated, but these cork-based little beauties also have a sustainable edge that makes me a little more hopeful for the future of the planet.
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From a nifty F1 car to a stylish speedboat, graceful sailboat and beyond, the First Gear range of vehicles and vessels are made primarily from Portuguese cork. The soft, lightweight material makes a perfect impact resistant car body and buoyant boat hull, but also has great CO2 offsetting abilities—the seven million acres of cork forest around the Mediterranean apparently offsetting 20 million tons of CO2 each year.
If that wasn't sufficient sustainability credentials, the entire range is designed with longevity in mind. The remote control for the toys—a simple half-moon wheel, with a couple of buttons—comes equipped with dynamic control settings that give children different steering sensitivity and speeds (and thus control challenge) as they grow, hopefully meaning these toys will stay relevant for longer.
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Naturally, we enquired with V2 Studio as to whether these little beauties were available for purchase but, alas, you won't be seeing them in toy stores just yet. Apparently, the range was the outcome of a self-initiated project of the studio—the firm having spent many a year developing toys for big brands. The studio aims to license the range for manufacture in the near future.
Sustainability aside, these are also just some damn good looking objects—some much need visual calm for weary-eyed parents. Children would be advised to keep them well away from design-minded adults.