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The Kaleidoscope House - modern thinking in dolls’ house design

15 September 2011

It seems dolls’ houses have never been more popular.

But it isn’t all about Victorian and Georgian designs with their nostalgia for the past.

Of course there's Malibu Beach House for lovers of modern living and if you pay a visit to the Museum of Childhood (part of the Victoria and Albert Museum) in London, you’ll find another amazing example of modern dolls’ house design.

Created in 2002 for Bozart Toys, the Kaleidoscope House was conceived and designed by a practising New York architect, Peter Wheelwright, and an internationally-renowned artist, Laurie Simmons, who is noted for using dolls’ house imagery in her photographic work.

Made in a 1: 12th scale, the house has sliding transparent colour walls, hence the reference to a kaleidoscope in its name, and features specially designed and made furniture by people such as Dakota Jackson (the dining room suite) and Karim Rashid (the living room sofa).

Today, the Kaleidoscope House is much sought after by serious collectors and even a well-used one can command four figure sums.

A treasure trove of all things "children" - past, present and future!

26 February 2010

The V&A Museum of Childhood, formerly the Bethnal Green Childhood Museum, is a treasure trove of all things “children” - past, present and future.

The museum’s fascinating permanent exhibitions include “Imagine”, which looks at how children play imaginatively; “Be Inspired”, a display of beautiful things from the museum’s collection, including numerous unusual items; and “Explore” which looks at how children learn through play and acquire new skills as they get older.   These exhibitions are also supported by a number of temporary displays which is where The Dolls House Emporium was able to help!

Collecting dolls’ houses and miniatures has been a popular hobby, for both the young and the young-at-heart, for hundreds of years.  The museum celebrated this hobby with a display of dolls’ houses and dolls from across the centuries, for which The Dolls House Emporium supplied two of its own designs.

The Classical Dolls House, by The Dolls House Emporium, is classical by name and classical by nature.  Its three-story Georgian style is most people’s idea of what a typical dolls’ house should look like.  It was used in the display as a perfect example of a traditional dolls’ house enjoyed by children now as well as hundreds of years ago.

In contrast The Mackintosh House, a 1:12th scale house based on the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is from The Dolls House Emporium’s Architectural Collection and an example of how intricate dolls’ houses can be.  Using authentic details from Mackintosh’s designs this beautiful house is a faithful representative of his style, from the double height hall and “waterfall” light, to the unique staircase with newel posts and galleried landing.

Using these houses the Museum of Childhood was able to demonstrate the varied and enthralling world of miniatures.  That’s what we’re here for!





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