Auditorium Toys

Designer Brad Denboer couldn’t quite find the toys he dreamed about so he decided to build them himself. Auditorium Toy Co. was founded with the intention of celebrating the elegance of simple designs fabricated by historical craftsmanship.

Auditorium Toys are of superb quality. They are unique toys that are quiet, timeless, durable and beautiful — the type of toys that your grandchildren’s grandchildren will love. Each design is carefully handcrafted and engineered in extremely limited, numbered editions in their small studio in Tucson, Arizona, using time honored techniques and tools. Auditorium believes that the slower you put things together, the slower they fall apart.

The Boattail Racer is simply stunning. Opening the box here at swissmiss studio was ceremonial to say the least. We all pretty much gathered around it going uuuhhh and aaaahhh!

What I love the most is the nice touch with the booklet the toy comes with implying that we will pass the toy on to other generations. Every previous owner writes their name into the booklet before passing it on. Beautiful.

Congrats Auditorium! We love what you’re doing! And wonderful thinking on the slowness part.

24 Comments leave a comment below

  1. He couldn’t find the toys he dreamed about so he crafted a toy so expensive it will remain a dream for most kids? Huh? It is beautiful, no doubt, but it is more sculpture than play thing.

  2. How about taking some piece of wood, different grains of sand paper, two skateboard axes and four skateboard wheels? Costs probably 3 hours and 35 Dollars.

  3. Toy companies quit making toys like this because they are dangerous. Its why they quit making toys out of tin and cast iron, kids throw them at other kids and bones (and windows, televisions, etc.) break.

    The irony about such “beautiful toys” is that they end up being the kinds of toys your parents made you leave in the box and never play with.

  4. so cool! I like the wheels especially.

  5. Very nice, however ridiculously expensive. The reason toys get made in factories is to drive the cost down so people can afford to play with them in the first place. very nice, but kind of makes me sad.

  6. Talk about missing the point. Money can buy nice stuff, but it can’t buy heirlooms. Heirlooms are considered valuable from an intrinsic standpoint that can’t be measured, and simply purchasing a toy like this is not going to create that instantly. The better idea would have been to make the package contain all the raw materials to create this on your own, add your own touches and truly craft something that you and your child can look back on and say “Yeah, we made that.” No doubt, this is a beautiful piece, but it completely misses the mark with what they are trying to achieve. Hipster parents will surely gobble these things up along with their $300 jeans and $180 t-shirts, but for a regular joe like me, I’ll head to my basement and whip up a dozen toys for my kid with the $350 I saved from not buying this.

  7. Surely this isn’t a bargain, but how many of your kids toys have the ability to stand the test of time, so that they have something they could pass on to the next generation? Nobody could plan what exactly will become a heirloom, but this tough piece may have the potential. It’s hard to see how much crap toys are around those days, it’s good to have a toy that pleases the eye.

  8. I just bought my kid one of these for $10.95. It may not be quite the same heirloom quality of build but it’s well designed, fun, and I won’t cringe every time the car goes tumbling down the stairs or crashes into walls.

  9. I’m sorry, but this looks like a horrible travesty of a ‘toy’ to me – something that gives affluent parents more pleasure unwrapping than any child will ever have fun with playing.
    I don’t believe that toys have to be cheap to be good: look at Anne-Claire Petit’s crocheted work – made in co-operation with village groups in Asia – to see that toys can be beautiful, well-made, benefit third-world countries and not be produced as an ‘heirloom’ with a provenance certificate to be appreciated by all ages, and be handed-down naturally from one generation to another.
    Best of all, of course, would be to develop the skills to make more of our own toys: those would really be worth handing down from generation to generation, long after this limited edition piece is landfill.

  10. Unfortunately, I don’t even think, that the toy will be an heirloom that has the quality to be handed down from generation to generation. Plastics are just not made for it. Even if you keep it in the acid-free box all the time.

  11. No kid will want to play with this. And it doesn’t have the “soul” to make one want to pass it down to another generation. Clearly a case where cool design is not enough.

  12. This whole post reminds me of April Fool’s day, or at least makes me feel like I am being pranked. If you want an heirloom toy, encase it in acrylic and put it on a shelf. It is wrong to market it as such. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this is no way looks like a cool toy. Other posts are on the money: one could easily make this at home and the learning experience is more valuable. Automoblox are cool and satisfy imagination and cost. I am just baffled by the Miss of Swiss’s judgement here.

  13. wow, this is crazy. What is going on here? I’ve never seen such a long thread of complaints about something being “overpriced” on Swiss-Miss…. oh and BTW, is it overpriced? It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

    Here are some more examples of pretty and pricey toys:

    Streamliner Classic by Playsam $44 (I think the car is smaller than 3″)

    Cuboro Basic Set of ball track building blocks $180 (I own the set and have spent countless hours playing with it as an adult)

    Normann Copenhagen Wooden Plane $120

    Pesci Wooden Puzzle ~$500 (as far as I know this is not even a limited edition toy)

    Bojesen Elephant $200

    How about a room separator from Molo? I’ve never heard anyone complain about the price of those?

    I didn’t think that price was really such an issue in this community.

    This is about minimalism. It’s about buying very little stuff, but only the most beautiful and “played-with” (read: useful). This toy will provide years of enjoyment; in later life as a beautiful artifact on the shelf.

    The Automoblox have been mentioned here a few times. As a person with some design blood in my veins, I cringe every time I see that toy. I think the dimensions are all wrong (the car by itself is pretty okay although not perfect, the little people are terrible).

    There was a really interesting article in Fast Company about Designer Toys some time ago. Check it out, it’s about what parents perceive as a toy that promotes creativity:

    Lastly, I own a little wood shop, in which I make wooden building blocks that are sold in toy stores in Canada, I’m pretty sure I could make this car myself (I would probably not be able to get these exact wheels with nice ball bearings, which I think could be quite pricey), but I would feel like an idea thief. (I still don’t understand how all those like-a-bike copy cats just bluntly copy the idea.)

    In the end I’ve got to say that I’m on Tina’s side. This is a beautiful “slow-play” toy.

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  15. Hans – the discussion isn’t primarily about price imo (which is specifically why I mentioned the Anne-Clair Petit crochet toys), it’s about ‘design-parents’ foisting unplayable objects on their children to satisfy their own (consumerist) desires.

    Incidentally, I bought the Girard House Industries alphablocks for my daughter – in the full knowledge that she won’t be able to truly enjoy them for the first twenty (or so) years of her life – but I felt they were beautiful and worthwhile.
    Luckily, they did *not* come with a certificate of provenance, and a little form for future generations to fill-in upon inheritance…

  16. I remember in my old undergrad cultural anthropology class how the professor mused that children do not play with their toys how they are supposed to. Advertising attempts to tell kids how they are to play with their toys, and parents have intentions of how kids are to use them, but kids ignore those things completely.

    Its a pretty little car sure (and the wheels are just ABEC rollerblade wheels, not that expensive), but is it cool-looking to a kid? Its not a toy, its an art object. No kid would see that and decide its something they really wanted (unless they had no toys to begin with). For one, kids like simulacra-toys which have a sense of realism. Hotwheels were popular because they looked like actual cars which really exist. The same thing with animal toys. Kids want these because it allows them to role play as adults. I don’t think a child would see this toy as necessarily representing a car, its merely a wheeled object. It doesn’t look like any car they have seen, or ever will see (most likely). Its just a wooden slab with wheels on it.

  17. that’s quality stuff! wheels of roller blades, fitted on timber body, that is very clever, from first glance i thought it was something i could sit on, or wear, like a skateboard… it’d be more fun if a boy could sit in it.

  18. Is it wrong that I’m an adult I want one of these for myself.

  19. Beautiful collector toy. It reminds me of the european toys my parents bought us years ago. They were passed from generation to generation.

  20. I love this thing. It’s simple, clever, extremely well executed and amazingly well presented and it’s made in USA.

    …yes, things made in China are cheap and this is not.

    The fact that it’s out of my price range doesn’t stop me from appreciating it just like some luxury car brands.

    I’d like to see what he comes up with next!

  21. The shit!!!! Very nice!!