In her bachelor’s degree project at the Art Academy of Latvia Functional Design Department, Una Grants has created a project called «OMG!» which is a garage on wheels. This project allows children to have fun while creating kinetic objects and toys from various scrap and materials. This approach prolongs the life of things by using fantasy and joy and encouraging children to work with their hands, use different tools and to boost their creativity.
With her bachelor’s degree project «OMG!» («Oh, my garage!») Una Grants takes a stance against the current approach of constantly creating new things from new materials. Taking environmental pollution, waste, and our throw–away culture, where objects are all too casually disposed of, Una offers to make something new out of things that no longer fulfill their function — old toys, broken electrical appliances, and other scraps. «OMG!» is a creative, playful activity for children which gives them a space to make moving sculptures and objects without using new materials or polluting the environment.
«In my childhood, I found it exciting to disassemble things to the smallest detail, thinking that it would allow me to understand their nature. The idea for the project came to me while reading the children’s book «The Most Magnificent Thing». It is a story about a little girl who tries to create the most magnificent thing from various objects. Although she’s not always happy with the result, her inner journey leads to the conclusion that she can use the best parts from each of the unsuccessful prototypes to finally create the most satisfying product. In this process she learns diligence, patience and the truth that there can be several solutions to one problem,» says Una.
«OMG!» adapts the principles of the Montessori pedagogy. Each kid has his own activity board, a working surface, on which to operate without interfering with others. In order to meet the safety requirements, all materials are tested by the designer, and gloves and goggles are also used. An adult works with the child in the minivan, thus allowing the workshop not only teach about various materials but also to strengthen the link between generations.
«OMG!» also promotes the awareness of recycling. There are grey and yellow containers for placing the unnecessary things meeting the colour code of the sorting of waste.
The garage on wheels is intended for children from 4 to 14. The youngest workshop participants are able to create their fantasy objects on a magnetic board. It also allows them to learn about the diversity of the materials and to understand what is metal and what’s not.
Finally, «OMG!» offers to bring to life the created object using a stop–motion animation mobile app.
The mobile garage «OMG!» can be placed at festivals and other social gatherings that involve curious children who want to experiment. «The famous myths about big enterprises like «Apple» makes us speculate that exactly the informal environment of a garage is a good basis for developing the creative potential,» says Una.
Una Grant’s bachelor’s degree project at the Art Academy of Latvia was supervised by Assoc. prof. Barbara Ābele.