Cas Holman and KABOOM! have been collaborating to bring open-ended, loose parts playthings to children, schools and families since 2014. Cas is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and founder of Heroes Will Rise, an independent toy company that designs and manufactures tools for the imagination. These materials are manipulable parts and pieces which inspire constructive play, imaginative forms, and cooperative interactions between people.
Abstract in their identity, these tool/toys inspire children and adults to imagine the origin and story of the toy as well as how to use it. "What is it?" and "What does it do?" are answered in intuitive details, play prompts, and semiotic clues, making the instructions implicit in the tool/toy. Her designs are never gender specific, and encourage an exploratory, unstructured play. She tinkers in her Hope, Rhode Island workshop- situated on a retired summer camp filled with toys, drawings, prototype structures, dreams and dogs.
Cas Holman's work and her personal story as a LGBTQI creative is the subject of an episode of Netflix's design-focused documentary series 'Abstract: The Art of Design'. Created by former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, the series explores the lives and ideas of leading figures in design and architecture, with each episode focusing on a single creator and their practice. The episode on Cas Holman is directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker ("Free Solo", 2019). We can't wait to watch the inspiring story of Cas and her creation of Rigamajig!
Learn more about Cas Holman
Read Cas's interview about Rigamajig®
No Instructions, No Right Answers: A 263-Piece Building Kit For Curious Kids
"Cas Holman, a professor of industrial design at RISD, was determined to give kids something more creativity-enhancing. A proponent of educational play, she came up with Rigamajig, a new, 263-piece building kit for classrooms. As kids improvise with building elaborate contraptions, or 'Rigamajigs,' from planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts, and rope, they learn about engineering, architecture, creativity, and collaboration experimentally."
The High Line – NYC's Park in the Sky
Design to Improve Life
"In approaching this project, industrial designer Cas Holman drew on her many experiences she got from her understanding of loose play from the years of research and designing for the Imagination Playground™ (INDEX: Award 2011 Finalist) - a cutting-edge learning experiment meant to encourage imaginative, creative play with huge moveable blocks."
-2011 Index Award
Three Keys To Creative Kid Design, From The Creator Of High Line Playground
"Emily Pinkowitz, Manager of Education, Teen, and Family Programs at Friends of the High Line summed up the result of the kit perfectly, ‘Kids who didn’t know one another are playing together; it’s exactly what we had hoped for.’ The High Line is clearly committed to innovation, because the Workyard Kit is innovative design creating community."
-Shoham Arad, Fast Company