Imaginary Friend exhibit at London’s Museum of Childhood brings childhood companions to life.

The Imaginary Friends of British Children Brought to Life

The Imaginary Friends of British Children Brought to Life

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Feb. 15 2016 9:07 AM

The Imaginary Friends of British Children Brought to Life

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Nessi, imagined by Julio Sanz and created by Psyop.

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Adult designers often seek inspiration in childhood. But a recent spate of endearing projects has seen designers working with kids to turn their dreams and drawings into real objects. British designer Dominic Wilcox helped turn kids’ ingenious ideas into real inventions. Toy designers from Ikea made plush toys from kids’ drawings that were sold to raise money for charity. And now London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood has collaborated with U.K. animators and model-makers as well as advertising agency AMV BBDO to bring a handful of children’s invisible friends to life for the Imaginary Friend Collection, which was on view until Friday.

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Chloe, imagined by Mabel Brim and brought to life by Becky & Joe at Blinkink.

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Swerl the Lion, imagined by Eva Wood and fabricated by Picasso.

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More than 60 kids were invited to describe their fantasy friends in as much detail as possible at a workshop last September. A selection of characters that the grown-ups deemed the “most interesting”—including an 8-foot dinosaur and a three-eyed girl with a pet cloud—were brought to life.

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Monster, imagined by Leo Georgiou and created by Aardman.

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“Children create many amazing things,” Arvid Harnqvist and Amar Marwaha, the creative team who came up with the project idea, said in a press release, adding that their imaginary friends “are talked about all the time and often become part of the family” until kids grow up and “these marvellous creations fade away. This project aims to immortalise them.”

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Lily the cat, imagined by Ruth Fekade and made by Psyop.

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Jamie the fox, imagined by Lily Whitby and realized by Dwarf.

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Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.