Plywood is at the essence of Charles and Ray Eames’s work. The pioneering designers sculpted the material into splints, shelving, and the chairs, which elevated them to fame in the 1940s. But they also extended the technical experiments into children’s toys. The Molded Plywood Elephant, one such example, never went into production back then due to high fabrication costs.
But Swiss manufacturer Vitra started producing plastic replicas in 2007, and now, at the London Design Festival, it is auctioning off 21 of these elephants that are customized by 20 top designers of today. The proceeds will benefit Teddy’s Wish, a charity that supports research into sudden infant death syndrome.
Reflecting the quirks of their designer, each elephant has its own unique traits. British designer Philippe Malouin did up his like a woolly mammoth; Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune covered theirs in gray leather; Neri & Hu kitted out the animal with rockers and a saddle that holds accessories. Bids for each will start at about $460 (it’s for a good cause!), and you can see a selection in the slideshow above.