Czech designer Libuše Niklová designed these classic inflatable toys with a wonderful sense of form, creating such simple structures but with so much animal character!
Plastics had only become more widely available after World War II and Niklová’s toy designs were revolutionary at that time and must-have toys for Czechoslovak children during the 1960s and 70s.
Exhibited at MoMA New York in the ‘Century of the Child’ exhibition in 2012 and the ‘Designing a Modern Woman’ exhibition of 2014. Retrospectives of her work were held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (2010) and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris (2011).
Niklová’s son, artist Petr Nikl, discusses some of the creations of Libuše Niklová that are featured in the ‘Century of the Child’ exhibition at MoMA in this video.
“In the mid 1960s she started designing inflatables. They are supposed to be sat upon and they start talking when the kids move.
For me these inflatables are special because they are filled with my breath, or that of the person who inflates them.
If you want to relocate them, you can deflate them and blow them again. I see it as a metaphor for constant bringing to life.”