I love an unconventional dollhouse; for some reason miniature versions of every day things have universal appeal, and even better when it goes beyond the scaled replica and offers a unique perspective or use. Like these dollhouses created by well-known architects with an artist, as submissions for a charity auction last November to benefit Kids, a London charity that supports children with disabilities and their families. The 20 designs had to fit on a 30- by 30-inch plinth and include one unique feature that makes life easier for a child with a disability. The auction raised £87,000 for the charity.
These are my favourite designs from the submissions featured in an article on Houzz, though they're all really cool. I'm wondering one thing, whether any of the dollhouses bought at auction went to a child with a disability? I know fans of architecture with lots of bucks would have snapped these up for their collections, but they were designed with special features for these children and I can't help but think what a shame it is if they're sitting idle in a display case!
This must be the place. Zaha Hadid, with Giovanni Scacchi. "An interpretation of the Ideal House pavilion commissioned in 2007, the ZHA doll’s house is a puzzle offering many possibilities to play and experiment in creating an endless variety of unique compositions. Voids are interpreted as new unique rooms or courtyards for dolls to inhabit." Noce Canaletto Americano wood, Perspex. Winning bid: £14,000
Outside/In. shedkm, with James Ireland. "A collection of exterior-like spaces that celebrate the sensory experience of being in the landscape. A house that is elemental in its experience, with colour, light, shade, reflectivity, long-distant views being important stimuli. It rotates like a Rubik puzzle around a spiral stair. It is a designed to provide escape for a visually impaired child; it's about looking through and beyond." Whitewashed birch plywood, glass, copper, brass, stainless steel, quartz, selenite, basalt, neoprene. Winning bid: £1500
Electra House. Adjaey Associates, with Chris Ofili and Base Models. "A flexible home that contains a live/work space. Designed to be accessible to all, the ground floor is a continuous space, undulating between outdoor courtyard and creative indoor space. Light is a phenoenological presence inside the house, its properties of reflection, luminosity and movement provide the focal experience for all." Timber, Perspex and plastic furniture. Winning bid: £3,500
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. "A dolls’ house made of three-sided rooms is a miniature domestic world where rooms are compsed and stacked by children with learning disabilities and sensory impairments. Small houses, cities, even worlds are created by the children and the rooms rely on connections with one another to form a whole. Rooms of delight react to movement and respond to touch and hearing senses with particular appeal to children with sight and dual sensory loss." Timber, acrylic, paper, glass, ceramic, plastic, metal, power source required. Winning bid: £11,000
House for a Deaf Child. DRMM, with Richard Woods Studio and Grymsdyke Farm. "Designed around the consideration of a deaf child, it's an object to play and learn with, but also is a space to inhabit, designed to support visual communication through sign language. The exterior has adjustable pieces to give colour expression on the outside, and control of light and views from the inside. With further discovery these pieces can be reconfigured into new spaces and furniture." Plywood. Winning bid £1,000
Haptic House, Dexter Morin. "Based on the concept of 'sensory play', this house encourages children to look, listen, touch and feel. A series of components, identical in character, which aim to inspire children, bring the house to life by stimulating the primary senses. Unlike conventional Doll's House design, the 360-degree access means there are no defined rules of how it should be played - inviting the option of group play or individual discovery." Perspex, various fabrics and textures. Winning bid: £1,400
Multi-Story. Duggan Morris, with Unit 22 Modelmakers. "Designed to aid early intervention strategies for children with developmental disability Autistic Spectrum Disorder. In consultation with Christina, mother of high functioning autistic Louis (5), the house swaps the visually noisy cross section of the typical dolls house with a set of rooms arranged in either a stack or plan form. Each room can be used in isolation or as part of a sequence to provide a focused platform for learning and role play." MDF and brass. Winning bid: £5,500