Child’s play: Robbrecht en Daem designs a modern puppet theatre for Valerie Objects

puppet's theatre for children
Belgian studio Robbrech en Daem has designed a puppet's theatre for children, which can be folded up when it not in use and easily stored
(Image credit: TBC)

Belgian brand Valerie Objects has garnered acclaim for its exquisite pieces produced by designers, artists and architects. An off-shoot of Antwerp’s Valerie Traan gallery, it has presented works by the likes of Muller Van Severen, Koichi Futatsumata and Wieki Somers, while Octave Vandeweghe was recently shortlisted for a Wallpaper* Design Award. Its latest project, Robbrecht en Daem’s ‘Puppet Theatre’, takes a decidedly nostalgic turn.

Architect Paul Robbrecht’s fascination with puppets dates back to his childhood in Flanders. ‘Every week, a local family set up a puppet show in the tiny back-room of a café,’ he recalls. ‘It felt like a miniature theatre, I was utterly mesmerised.’ A few decades later, he has combined this attraction to the miniature theatre with his architectural experience, and created an installation which is part fairytale castle, part modernist fortress.

puppet theatre in black

‘Puppet Theatre’, by Robbrecht en Daem

(Image credit: TBC)

The theatre features elements that are recurring in the practice’s architecture: its shape references Robbrecht en Daem’s Market Hall in Ghent, designed in 2012 and inspired by the medieval architecture of the area. Another signature feature of the architect’s work is the strict measurement system of every design, based on numbers three, five and seven – something that Robbrecht applied to this piece as well.

Made of dark walnut and available in red and black, the ‘Puppet Theatre’ is both a decorative piece of furniture and an object imagined for children’s entertainment – so much so, that Robbrecht tested it on his grandchildren (who, he notes, ‘reacted quite positively’).

‘This theatre is similar to a box of wooden blocks,’ says Robbrecht; its design, he explains, takes its cues from mid-century toys, and is bolstered by the belief that sober and abstract forms enhance children’s sense of imagination.

puppet theatre in black

The puppet theatre comes in red or black painted wood

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information, visit the Valerie Objects website

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.