Mr. Dhairya Shikhar completed his master’s degree in Crafts and Design, with specialization in Hard Material, in the year 2017. His inquisitive disposition and an eagerness to learn brought him lessons and insights from all around. Either it is his faculty or craft exposures, batch-mates, or seniors, he found something to learn from everyone, from every discipline. An environment of peer learning and the emphasis on exploration as an integral part of educational culture and methodology at IICD inculcated in him an incessant drive to innovate. This zeal continued to grow and amplified in his post-college years to materialize in the shape of Planet ZÜLO in 2019.
PLANET ZÜLO is a range of one of its kind handcrafted modular wooden toys designed and developed by Mr. Dhairya Shikhar. It features a collection of 60 different animal forms, fashioned out of scrap/waste wood, with an innovative combination of the craft of woodturning and magnets to produce a complete range of diverse modular/Interchangeable building parts. These toys have a negligible carbon footprint, longer shelf life, and greater play value.
ZÜLO aims to positively impacting the environment and is in harmonious coherence with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It endeavors to offer a better alternative for plastic toys to sensibly improve childhood learning and fun with subtle implicit lessons on sustainable choices. Unlike plastic playmates, which end up towering the already skyrocketing landfills, they are ageless treasures made to endure and assimilate the grandeur of time and can be passed as family heirlooms from one generation to another, encouraging more socially conscious and environmentally responsible consumption patterns.
Being hand-crafted from waste wood with immense skills and no harmful chemicals, they are safe, sustainably produced, and support the livelihood of the artisan communities involved by offering avenues of gainful employment and meaningful engagement. The soft curves lent to the toys by woodturning, in sharp contrast of the angular 2 Dimensional wooden toys of the past, bring to life beautiful intriguing, and ergonomic 3D structures in a playful environment. Their modular character and magnetic joineries enhance their play value by gifting enormous possibilities of exploration and creation of newer and innovative figures.
Recently Planet ZÜLO was selected as Winner in San Francisco Design Week 2020. The award was conferred under the theme, “Where Innovation meets Social Responsibility”, under Wild Card Category. The award jury composed of eminent Global Design Leads from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Fuse project, and many others. To honor the winner, Planet ZÜLO was invited to display the products at the SFDW opening.
Earlier, in May 2020 Planet ZÜLO was one of the finalists at New York Design Week 2020 (NYCxDesign) in the Industrial Design Category. It was also selected by WantedDesign Manhattan for its LaunchPAD 2021, a curated platform of 50 young designers from around the world.
IICD is proud of Dhairya’s capable, environmentally empathetic thought; his curious, unique disposition, and his dynamic enthusiastic entity; and wishes him a bright future ahead!!
For more information please visit:
By Nivedita Narayan
Asst. Professor, IICD
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