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WOW designer helps high school students ‘play’

12th May 2016

WOW designer helps high school students ‘play’

New Zealand designer and ‘play’ enthusiast, Kris Ericksen, has been helping students at Auckland’s Green Bay High School understand how design and play can fit together.

Using the Plato system – an interlocking design concept made up of flat plastic pieces that can be slotted together into any shape – Mr Ericksen hosted four sessions with seven classes ranging from Year 9 to Year 13.

During the tutorials, the designer demonstrated how the Plato system works, how it can be manipulated to create many things and how much fun it is to play with.

"The development of the Plato system has been an evolutionary process of discovery through play. I came to realise that play, creative exploration and discovery (without the pressure of having to make something specific), is important to us as human beings – whether we are young or old,” he says.

Textile and Design teacher, Jessie Brodie, who invited Mr Ericksen to the school after she and her class met him in Wellington during the 2015 World of Wearable Arts (WOW) Show, says it was a highly valuable exercise.

“It was great to watch the students play with Plato and unleash their creativity.
Some made the pieces into animals, baskets, bottle holders, and adornments. Others had fun investigating pattern formations and joining the shapes together. All the students were fully engrossed and engaged as they developed their two – and three - dimensional thinking with no restraints on their outcomes. They also really enjoyed listening to Kris’s design story as they created with Plato.”

Mr Ericksen, who applied the Plato interlocking system to his 2014 and 2015 WOW entries, has recently launched Plato Lighting – a range of contemporary, kit-set light shades which he is currently showcasing at New York’s design festival – and where he has just been announced as a finalist in the Emerging Talent category of the prestigious NYCxDesign Awards.

On the back of his visit to Green Bay High School he has extended the Plato Mini range, which is now also available as an educational resource.

Plato Lighting products and Plato Mini packs can be purchased via

Watch how the Plato pieces fit together:


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