After a successful product launch at last year's NUDE exhibition during Feria Hábitat Valencia, Cdroig released its popular magnetic Pixels XL in a smaller format. The 5x5cm squares are perfect for little hands ... and older ones, too. It was a pleasure to speak with Maria Roig during Valencia Disseny Week and learn how a simple design can have a powerful effect.
The studio was invited to feature the Pixels XL on a wall during Children's Fashion week at the Feria. The ever-changing possibilities for DIY murals kept kids entertained, engaged and quiet. An obvious spin-off was to present the decorative product in an educational context. Children can use Pixels XL in the classroom as a learning tool. Younger children can learn to count, distinguish colours and shapes by learning creatively.
When you observe the children playing with the Pixels XL, how do they react when they create a composition?
The first time we introduced the product in Nude, we noticed that Pixels XL was an attraction for children. Children did not require much explanation about the possibilities of the product. They just came and did anything. Little children were attracted to removing and replacing, creating blocks of color; older than 7 years, they developed animals, machines, Martians, based on what they had seen in the designs we developed every day. And then everyone signed, rushed to leave their name or a message. The most curious was that, all of a sudden, we had become a nursery, all parents quietly watching their children being entertained for hours.
What designs do they seem to enjoy creating the most?
After a year of practice with the product at the different events and cities where we have shown it, we found that children work differently with Pixels XL, depending on the age, as I mentioned earlier. The fact of copying pictures, or creating different interpretations based on the previous proposals was the most surprising thing. For instance, if the mural subject was about the sea, children went on designing sea animals, or when it was about children holding hands or with different costumes, they went on with those ideas. It seems like we show them the way and they follow it.
What transpired was that in using this version, it was discovered that creating images with PIxels XL was an excellent therapy for people living with Alzheimer's. This type of play can help to stimulate motor skills and the memory. Just trying to recreate an image is quite a feat for some of these people - the accompanying video will show you that it is more difficult than you or I may realize.
Can you describe what it was like to watch the Alzheimer's patients using the Pixels XL? What did you see? How did you feel?
Emotion. I have a tremendous satisfaction to see and feel how a product designed for the interior design, as well as shape or color decor of a home or facility, becomes a therapeutic product, and how people can benefit from using them, in the case of Alzheimer's, developing an improvement in memory.
When you set out to create Pixels XL, did you imagine the potential for a variety of applications?
I started in May 2010, thanks to work carried out with a Cdroig brand, through which we produce all magnetic products Melazani ©. In a creative phase I came together with new pvc magnetic materials that I knew at a supplier's factory, so we began to give volume to these products. The simplicity of the square shape would allow me to cover any simple plain wall of any home. And then we started to think and work as hard as we could in order to obtain a quick action to remove and put the Pixels XL. The resemblance to computer commands led us to think that, like the pixels of a computer image, our Pixels XL also could form images such as those discussed in a design program.
Of course I had no ambitious goal. It was only the need to solve a personal issue in my own house and curiosity to develop things, nothing else.
What is next for Cdroig?
Cdroig is developing more products based on the patented Pixels XL system. Our idea is to keep on producing Pixels XL, convinced of the endless possibilities that this product offers, and as a small child, there is the desire to place them in the hands of others.
We are currently trying to expand the product via distribution in different countries.