Forest Crayons bring alive the hues of the forest using natural colours from wood

Developed by Tokyo-based Studio Playfool, Forest Crayons reveal the vast spectrum of hues that exist in the forest with a set of naturally coloured crayons crafted from wood.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Jan 10, 2022

An object of endless fascination for a child and a bevy of colour compactly packed in a wax or plastic body has essentially constituted a product that has spelled creativity for an entire age-group, generation after generation. Crayons are probably the very first 'brush with art' that most of us have had, the pun unintended, and a very fundamental introductory medium to draw, spell, write, and just fill any blank canvas: often the walls, much to the house-owner’s dismay. But as seen in a number of product innovations all through last year, true innovation in product design, especially in commonplace, daily-use objects, lay in material innovation, and rethinking fundamentals. It’s almost as if futurism was somehow rooted, romantically so, in going back, in revisiting basics. Admirably, both of these criteria overlap in Forest Crayons, while utility is sealed.

  • The crayons are prismatic in form and are composed of hues derived from the forest | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    The crayons are prismatic in form and are composed of hues derived from the forest Image: Courtesy of Playfool
  • The form and spirit of the crayons’ design is increasingly reminiscent of Japanese design principles and minimalism | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    The form and spirit of the crayons’ design is increasingly reminiscent of Japanese design principles and minimalism Image: Courtesy of Playfool

While intended as a global product, Forest Crayons’ roots are imperatively in Japan, especially considering that around two-thirds of the island nation is completely covered with trees, with nearly 40 per cent of them being artificially planted in the wake of the war. With Forest Crayons, the Tokyo-based design studio Playfool pegs their narrative on the increasingly urgent need of the forests’ upkeep and their routine harvesting and replenishment, given that there is little impetus to do so in the face of declining import costs. The wood from the forests is thus lent new life: apart from the furniture and architecture it would create, the crayons utilise not just the wood’s form-giving and aesthetic qualities, but also their natural, intrinsic hue.

  • A deep turquoise shade is derived from fungus stained wood | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    A deep turquoise shade is derived from fungus stained wood Image: Courtesy of Playfool
  • Wood from the forest yields particularly rich hues of brown and ember | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Wood from the forest yields particularly rich hues of brown and ember Image: Courtesy of Playfool

In what is at once a call for afforestation by drawing attention to our forests as multifaceted resources, Forest Crayons also ascend the notion of forests as dual-hued denizens in only green and brown, revealing a whole gamut of colours within the forest. From the light green of magnolia, to the deep turquoise of fungus stained wood, the set comprises a number of traditional shades and hues, derived from the forest, along with rich renditions of brown and ember.

  • Forest Crayons ascend the notion of the colours being only shades of brown, the natural hue of wood | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Forest Crayons ascend the notion of the colours being only shades of brown, the natural hue of wood Image: Courtesy of Playfool
  • The crayons are intended to be testament to the quality of Japanese wood and the country’s immense forest cover | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    The crayons are intended to be testament to the quality of Japanese wood and the country’s immense forest cover Image: Courtesy of Playfool

Furthermore, each of the crayons in the Forest Crayons set exhibits a distinct colour that is determined not only by the species of the tree, but also the conditions in which it is grown. As a result, the natural ‘inconsistencies’ in wood are fully embraced in creating a truly unique set each time.

  • Forest Crayons can be crafted from any shape or composition of forest wood, irrespective of their form or any defects | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Forest Crayons can be crafted from any shape or composition of forest wood, irrespective of their form or any defects Image: Courtesy of Playfool
  • In essence, any piece of wood from the lumber yard could be transformed into a crayon | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    In essence, any piece of wood from the lumber yard could be transformed into a crayon Image: Courtesy of Playfool

With sustainability at the fore, Playfool’s Forest Crayons thus devise a unique and entirely scalable use for wood in its entirety, irrespective of the shape, composition, or defect of a particular piece. Virtually any piece of wood from the forest or the lumber yard, whole or in part, could be transformed into a crayon, essentially translating into a near zero waste cycle. The crayons are carved out of the wooden log in a prismatic mass, with their design aesthetic, language, and an underlying sense of spirituality, deriving from the forest as a living being, being increasingly reminiscent of Japanese design and minimalism.

  • Sampling of colour shades obtained from different kinds of forest wood | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Sampling of colour shades obtained from different kinds of forest wood Image: Courtesy of Playfool
  • The process of carving Forest Crayons from a piece of wood | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    The process of carving Forest Crayons from a piece of wood Image: Courtesy of Playfool

An essential aspect of the intervention is generating awareness and appreciation for Japanese wood and the country’s forests, enabling the program being supported by the Japanese Forestry Agency. Playfool is now looking at ramping up production for the product to hit markets for retail.

  • 01 min watch Forest Crayons by Playfool peg their narrative on the need of Japan’s forests’ upkeep and their routine harvesting and replenishment, lending new life to forest wood in the process | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Forest Crayons by Playfool peg their narrative on the need of Japan’s forests’ upkeep and their routine harvesting and replenishment, lending new life to forest wood in the process Video: Courtesy of Playfool
  • 01 min watch Video showcasing the transformation of forest wood into pigmented crayons by Playfool | Forest Crayons | Playfool | STIRworld
    Video showcasing the transformation of forest wood into pigmented crayons by Playfool Video: Courtesy of Playfool

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