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Christine Oehme creates gender-fluid playset ‘Werkelküche’“Toys should not assign gender roles,” according to Christine, a project creator and a mum who decided to break stereotypes by creating a kitchen workshop for kids

‘Werkelküche’ is a workshop that imitates a playground and a kitchen; moreover, it offers diverse possibilities to play. The only limitation would be children’s imagination. They can cook, wash the dishes, or start a car race sliding down the curved worktop. Whereas in side compartments, they can find a shelter to hide their stuff or bake make-believe muffins. For Christine Oehme, a designer of the project and a mum, it was vital to create a gender-fluid space where kids would not need to play with gender-segregated toys. When Christine and her partner bore their child, they faced social norms. However, the designer decided to tackle traditional images and stereotypes linked to objects, toys, and clothes. While researching and communicating with parents on the topic of playgrounds, the woman intertwined the formal and aesthetic features of a kitchen and a workbench using contemporary manufacturing methods of design. 

“With ‘Werkelküche’ I wanted to erase any links between toys and gender. People often attribute particular colours, shapes, or tools to a specific gender, thereby, various clichés and stereotypes cling to us through childhood into adulthood. I knew that the space would open up a new range of options where kids would copy the grown-ups’ life and find new angles to have fun. Having started to design ‘Werkelküche,’ I tried to create attractive and interchangeable tools that would help kids to realize their ideas.”  


Contemporary Lynx is a proud media partner of Łódź Design Festival 2021. We have been publishing a series of articles on innovative and talented designers who have been finalists of the make me! 2021  – an international design contest for young designers at the Łódź Design Festival.

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About The Author

Anna
Shostak

Anna Shostak holds a BA in English Philology from USWPS in Warsaw. She's a life-long admirer of languages, European art and culture. Anna is an English teacher who frequently introduces a piece of a literary text or fine art in her class.

About the Designer:


Christine
Oehme

She is a recent graduate from the University of Arts in Berlin. During her studies she became a parent herself and was confronted with the social norms that lay on her as a mother. She quickly realized that it not only affects her and her partner, but that even the smallest children are pressed into gender norms. Objects, toys and clothing reflect the idea of male and female through their shape, color and communication. Christine's everyday experience, her field of research on the playground and the lively exchange between parents are the inspiration and drive for her creativity. Her design process is shaped by a passion for craftsmanship and she combines contemporary manufacturing methods in design for children.

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