I enjoy building/making things, particularly in a tangible 3D way, and one of the most rudimentary forms of doing so is with blocks. Most of us grew up with fond memories of either a set of random shaped blocks that grandpa cut up from his woodshop, or maybe the standard square "alphabet style" (you know the ones). Even with all the electronic gadgets and fancy toys, still today one of my favorite things is sitting down to build castles, towers, and all sorts of adventures with my own kids using just little blocks of wood.
Now, imagine taking that simple building block creative space to your desk...
Well, that is what the guys over at ARRIS BLOCK have set out to do with this debut Kickstarter campaign for a desk accessory of the same name with the goal of taking creative "fidgeting" to the workspace during needed attention breaks.
What they've created is a set of 165 small blocks or "tiles" that are 1" x 0.5" x 0.25" (I really, really love the proportions...) that can stack together to make a variety of shapes, and they are held together internally with powerful magnets. The guys were kind enough to send me over a set of the "natural" color blocks to check out and review, so many thanks to them.
When I say small, think like Scrabble board wooden tile small.
I'd have to say that this might be a first in this type of category here on The Clicky Post, but being a "desk" type accessory and based on my love for wooden products and design, I find it a fitting addition in the library.
Being on Kickstarter still, I'm sure packaging is still being finalized for how they'll be sold and shipped out, but I received a neatly stacked bunch of them which all-in-all took up only about a 4" x 4" (more a rectangle though) space on the desk which was a pretty small footprint.
These things beg to be played with. The first thing I did is sort of ripped off a chunk from the main block and let them fall into an unorganized bunch which created some interesting shapes on its own.
I love things to be right angles, symmetrical, and organized when it comes to design, so these seem to push my buttons pretty good...
The quality of the wood pieces are good without a lot of sharp edges or splintering, but they are wood which may allow for some variation. In size/thickness there is some variation, but I don't feel it distracts from the utility.
Each of the pieces is covered in a clear coat of sorts which is a great thing as it will allow them to be cleaned up from time to time if they get grimy, and prevents any oils from your hands from penetrating the wood.
The pieces are surprisingly responsive to each other, and the magnets are quite strong. I'd have to admit, for the first few minutes in building the only thing that I had to get the hang of was understanding the polarity of how the blocks "clicked" together which are either flush on top of each other, or in an alternating half and half scheme. This will limit the types of shapes that can be made, but I'm sure the ideas are endless and I'm just scratching the surface.
I feel the execution on these little blocks is pretty fantastic, and they serve their purpose extremely well. And, they look pretty awesome while doing it...
I could absolutely see these sitting on a wide range of desks without drawing the potentially unfavorable attention that other "fidget" solutions may gain. Actually, any attention they do get from colleagues or coworkers may be out of sincere interest due to their minimalist, yet interesting appeal.
A set of these isn't on the super cheap end, but they're going on Kickstarter for about $75 a set which I feel is an honest value on an item like this.
These have been extremely enjoyable to play with and review, and special thanks again to they guys at ARRIS BLOCK for sending them over. Take a few minutes to check out their Kickstarter page and video if these may be of interest for you or as a gift!