In 1960 Enzo Mari designed “16 Animali” for Italian manufacturer Danese. Comprising 16 wooden animal shapes “16 Animali” is simultaneously a child’s jigsaw and 16 individual wooden toys to be played with and thrown about as wished.
In 2014 with his son’s second birthday approaching Prague based industrial designer Jakub Gurecký faced the question of what to give him? Yes, he could buy something, but surely as a qualified and experienced industrial designer he could also create something? But what?
The inspiration came from “16 Animali”. Not the object itself, but the silhouettes of the animals: the reduced representation of familiar forms inspiring Jakub Gurecký to develop a rocking horse for his son in the silhouette of a horse.
And what a silhouette; resembling a sketch created in a single, flowing movement it is powerful yet graceful, majestic yet inviting, calm yet unpredictable; or put another way, Jakub Gurecký’s Horse embodies all that is innate and inherent in the horse in a simple, unassuming child’s toy.
Not that Horse is exclusively for kids. Crafted from powder coated steel Horse can support up to 80 kilos and according to Jakub he has already sold several to adults. We can’t verify that claim, have however absolutely no reason to doubt him; especially having tested it ourselves. While admittedly not something we could imagine sitting on to watch a whole football match or a whole movie, the fact that Horse not only rocks back and forward but also swings left and right, so moves just like a real pony, results in a very enjoyable sitting experience, and one ideally suited to accompanying, for example, a telephone conversation, reading a longish magazine article, idly surfing on your tablet, or in an office context, helping one endure a marketing meeting.
Or of course as a faithful companion for wild adventures in far off lands while mum and dad mess about with cooking, cleaning, washing the car etc…..
In addition to the powder coated steel version Jakub also offers his stead in a somewhat lighter aluminium version – the steel Horse weighing in at 8 kilos, the aluminium just 4. The aluminium version can however only support weights up to 25 kilos. So kids only. And regardless of which version is chosen Horse comes, as one would expect, complete with a saddle, available either in a double layered leather version or a much more reduced pad.
According to Jakub the biggest problem with developing the project was finding craftsman both capable of and willing to create the unconventional colt; for many the challenges appeared to big to even contemplate. Fortunately he persevered, was able to find competent partners, and today Horse is produced to order, by hand in Prague. Jakub is however looking for a producer interested in taking up the challenge of larger scale production, and also of trying new materials. For our part we can well imagine wood would work very well, so a single piece of say birch….. bending solid wood into organic rounded forms? We once read about some company, somewhere, who had a bit of experience in such…. where was it???
But we digress, and regardless of such considerations, in its original steel glory Horse by Jakub Gurecký is not only a very aesthetically pleasing and excellently realised object but also a fine example of what can happen when a designer follows their intuition, understands what they want to achieve and remains true to their vision.
More information on Jakub Gurecký and his Horse can be found at www.gurecky.net