Toy or decoration? Here is the Czech brand that offers both

Toy or decoration? Here is the Czech brand that offers both

“Miss Easter”, “King Kong”, “Nostromo”—the fancy names apply to the wooden figures of the Czech brand Tititi, which, with their colorful personalities, shine even in the most sterile interior of the house and are adored by children.

The old dream of Czech Tereza Talichová was fulfilled when she was recently able to open and populate her own studio in Prague with her lovable figures. The store has a nice line of Tititi dolls—each with its own name and individuality. And how is such a figure born?

Tereza first draws the sketchy plans by hand and then finalizes them in digital form—the drawings, along with the exact dimensions, are then in the hands of the carpenter who prepares the puppets. It is important that the good quality wood used for the objects is properly dried before grinding and varnishing can begin, and finally, the unique, colorful decor is applied. The production of the figures, which also function as a home decoration tool, is a rather time-consuming task, the top list of which is led by the “King Kong” piece, each hair of which is painted by the designer herself.

When we discovered the brand, immediately Alexander Girard’s iconic wooden dolls came to our minds—Tereza herself sees the otherwise architect-educated, iconic designer, known as the modern representative of the mid-century, as a source of inspiration. Girard designed primarily for the American Herman Miller Company: abstract shapes, geometric patterns appeared in his colorful textile compositions—he designed wooden figures that later became famous in 1952 (many of Girard’s designs are still on the market today—various home accessories are sold by Vitra today).

Tereza came into closer contact with Girard’s work during her studies in Paris, but was influenced not only by the American designer but also by Czech designers—Minka Podhajská, who also designs for the Wiener Werkstätte, or graphic designer Ladislav Sutnar.

The colorful and cheerful collection of wooden puppets was noticed by both professional and lay audiences: Tititi won the best home accessories category at the 2019 Designblok event, and was also nominated at the Czech Grand Design competition. By now, Tereza’s objects have appeared in a museum: the Moravian Gallery in Brno bought some pieces from the “Plavci” (“Swimmers”) collection. Whether it’s a home accessory or a toy figure for children, with Tititi products, it doesn’t really matter: everyone can find joy in them, because while the younger age group’s attention is captured by bright colors and interesting shapes, adults are overwhelmed by some kind of nostalgia at the sight of the objects.

Tereza says she didn’t really have a favorite toy as a child, maybe that’s why Tititi’s idea was born: now is a great time for members of the older generation to find their own unique toy figure that will do well on the shelf too.

The designer would be most pleased if these objects served even more generations, inherited as a kind of family relic. Tereza is also happy to accept individual orders, so we can easily see our family members or friends again on the selected Tititi figures.

And how do the various figures pop out of the designer’s head? Tereza usually draws from events in her immediate vicinity, observing sunbathing people on the beach or swimmers in the water, for example, but there are times when she meets a defining character in a good book or movie who almost naturally wants to be a Tititi baby. Such was the case with her series “Cosmos”, which was released as a result of the cult film “Alien” but also characters from the Verdi operas (Othello, Desdemona) were included in the repertoire.

As for the product range: in addition to the various wooden decorative elements, the favorite of the little ones, the coloring book (price is approximately HUF 5,500), but we can also get individual graphics (these cost in the order of HUF 34,000). The price of individual wooden puppets ranges from HUF 27,000 to HUF 65,000, the already mentioned “King Kong” statue costs HUF 83,000, and the most expensive piece (approximately HUF 110,000) is the result of a special collaboration: the robot-like figures were painted by illustrator Jiří Franta, and debuted at the 2020 Designblok event.

At this year’s Desingblok, at both venues—in Gabriel Loci and UPM, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague—we can also meet the brand: the new Tititi swing will be introduced as a spectacle, as well as a racetrack-style installation with renowned furniture manufacturer TON will be made.

Photos: Michal Hančovský

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