By Beth Carter
Posting in Design
This week, Harrods opened the doors to its new gender-neutral toy department, the Toy Kingdom.
Famed British luxury department store, Harrods, opened the doors to its first gender-neutral toy department this week, no doubt smart timing on the part of the store, who will be seeing floods of tourists who are wandering London during the Olympic Games.
For the new design, Harrods commissioned London and Singapore-based interior designers Shed, who specialize in retail and who have also created nteriors for such famous clients as Prada and Hunter, and also designed the art-deco shoe salon at Harrods.
The multi-million pound re-design of the 15 year-old department was Harrods' way of entering the new era, as Toy Kingdom was to be grouped by theme, not gender. It includes new areas like an enchanted forest, a miniature toy world, a reading room, a circus area and a candy store.
For the designers, this was an opportunity to "honour the traditional while composing an ultimate fantasy land." The Toy Kingdom is a space meant to reflect the fame and prestige of Harods while going into different worlds, called Dreamscapes.
"It's retail entertainment. Coming to the Toy Kingdom will be like a day out, and you need to be taken out of the real world to enjoy the reality of shopping," said Mark Briggs, Head of Store Image at Harrods.
Judging from the pictures, although most of Harrods seems a bit like a dreamland of beauty, refinement (and excess), the Toy Kingdom will be a hit with whatever children are lucky enough to browse. But, I'm guessing its contents won't be cheap.
Aug 1, 2012
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I'm sure they have a section for them. Maybe even a whole diorama of various scales and so forth. Point me in that direction. My nephew and I are both train fanatics. (And on a side note, I'm a woman and have loved trains even as a little girl in diapers. I liked my trains and cars and planes better than the dolls. But trains are the best!)
I feel, no matter girl/boy, pink/blue, green/yellow, this store looks like fun for any tabula rasa mind. Let the kids enjoy classic toys. New toys. Expensive and non-expensive toys. I've always found the Slinky to be a neutral toy, for a boy or a girl....lalala...I just found myself singing the song because of their contest I entered on youtube. Good job Harrods.
There are a lot of people making some really ignorant comments on this discussion board. They clearly don't understand what this is about. Ironically, they are the reason why stores like Harrods need to do things like this. When I was a little boy, I used to love playing with dolls and pink toys (and cars too). There is nothing inherently "female" about dolls or pastel colors. These are ideas imposed on us by society. As a child, I found it incredibly confusing when I was told not to go in the girls' department, because I wanted to play with the dolls, and I couldn't understand why I shouldn't be allowed to play with something that I thought was fun. I also found it frustrating when I was sent to the boys' department, and I was expected to play with baseballs and toy guns. I didn't like these things, and I didn't see what being a boy had anything to do with it. Harrods is no longer using gender as a way of characterizing their toy selection. Instead, they are simply sorting their toys by "theme." I think it's perfectly fine to have a "doll section" or a "pink section." That way, it doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl. Anybody who likes that section can feel comfortable going to that section. I think it's a step in the right direction.
On one pod there are race cars, tractors, a driving suit, etc, and on the other pad everything is pink, including a princess dress. Doesn't look very gender-neutral to me. Boys will naturally gravitate towards cars, and girls will naturally gravitate toward colors and clothing. Someone should tell these PC idiots that boys and girls are different before the kids pull down their pants and discover it for themselves.
The primary colors, red and yellow, psychologically appeal to the survival and power centers of the mind. This whole place is designed to cause a child who wants a toy to take it in at the primal level, ie: (red) "I MUST have this toy or I will die! (yellow) Mother, Father, buy me that toy or I will lie down on this nice inviting warm colored floor and kick and scream until you do!" Of course the entrance is inviting to adults, but once you are inside, it's too late. Also: Gender-neutral? Does this entail clearly defined areas of little white kitties dressed in pink, dollies and other pink things in a nice island, separated from another nice island right next door that is covered with cars and sports uniforms, tractors, trucks and war toys, without a trace of pink to be found? C'mon! Are we idiots? Does Harrods think they can pull this off on intelligent people? No doubt the answer is no. Only idiots would fall for this, and the resulting spoiled rotten mindlessness of their children are their just reward.
In looking at the pictures I see some pretty typical gender specific displays. I have no trouble imagining my twin 8-year-old grandchildren walking through and the girl notices the very pink display of Hello Kitty dolls while the boy spots the nearby car and racing suit. This is one of those cases where they want you to believe it's gender neutral when they have to be competitive and show things that will sell to their customers in a way that's familiar.
And why is gender neutering so important. Girls are just as important as Boys, and making boys play in a girls world robs the women of men later on. If my Mom dragged me into this place as a kid, I would be thinking to myself "Oh, another Mom store" except for that cool Space Suit. Get me into that!
And since when is a room full of pink and light pastels considered a gender neutral color palette? Part of the store looks like Easter Sunday in a little girls room. The section with the dark paneled walls and ceilings screams man cave. The store is gender divided and just does not want to admit it. Mixing up the displayed items does not make it gender neutral. The earth tones of the reading room are the only part of the store that looks gender neutral.
The argument used in half of these comments is that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Fairies are for girls and caves are for boys. Well, I'm a girl and I love blue and I love caves (want to visit the largest cave in the world in Vietnam!). If I was young and I got to walk into the "man cave" you can bet that I'd be enthralled by that room. However, the fairy room is just as cool!
ROFLMAO I bought a yellow/black GSX-R because it attracts women - a lot more than it does men. Yellow is a very strong colour - yet under my black/yellow jacket I love to wear pink with purple. Strangely my child enjoys all kinds of colours, enjoys playing with clothes, dolls, bears - making kissy noises when they kiss and hugging them. My child also loves to brrrrrrrr cars around and make them crash... and pour wooden blocks on the floor, play with them a while, then carefully put them away. My child is rarely selfish. When I hold out my hand and say 'Thank you', even a favourite toy is handed to me without questions. At times this fails, but generally I like to think that I'm building in a very mixed set of skills which are needed by both men and women. I'm happy that my child has curly hair, as we picked up 500 quid for 3 hours work shooting a video last month - my child wore a lovely pink dress and pink shoes. The only time I really notice the difference in gender is when my child sits in the bath singing and playing with his penis. OMG - do you think he's going to turn out as queer as you? There's nowt as queer as folk ;)
This is offensive and ignorant, plain and simple. The idea that kids "naturally gravitate towards" different toys based on sex would be laughably ridiculous if you didn't actually believe it. Having a penis doesn't make one interested in cars, nor does the lack of one decrease the same interest.
I understand where you're coming from, considering the etymology of "kingdom", but given that it is still the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, even under the rule of her Royal Highness, changing "kingdom" might be overkill. Also, "monarchy" refers to a system of government and not to the country or nation. If you really want to go that direction, it might be more appropriate to say "Dominion", but who wants to explore the Toy Dominion or Monarchy anyway? It would kill the storybook feel of the thing.
I love light pastels. All of my shirts are based on pastel shades rather than strong colours or plain white. I am certainly not effeminate in any way, but I must say that I'm sick of the 'men should prefer dark panelled walls and ceilings' brigade. My son has curly hair, he's 16 months now. He enjoys brrrrring his cars and making them crash (something he picked up from another boy). He also likes to sit and play amongst girls when he'll pick up dolls and make kissy noises for them. He does this with Super Man Hero action figures too. He (and I) both love all kinds of colours - we enjoy 'feminine' as well as 'masculine' colours and activities. I used to be a 'real man'; however as life went on I learned that that kind of 'real man' is not a very complete package. I still enjoy squeezing every last ounce out of my GSX-R1000 (again, I'm sorry if this is too much man for you - as it scares the bejeebies out of just about everyone that experienced a mere 30% of it's capabilities) just as I enjoy many other activities. I'm terribly sorry that you're offended by this - I suggest you lock yourself away in a Dark Padded room.