Nederlands

ADO gets more play from toys!

Wooden ADO toys by designer Ko Verzuu

13 october 2012 - 17 march 2013

CODA Museum presents the special collection of ADO toys it was able to acquire in 2009 with the financial support of the Mondriaan Fonds, SNS REAAL Fonds and the Vereniging Museumvrienden van CODA. The ADO toys will be shown in combination with historical material in a terrific exhibition that puts playing, looking, doing, fantasising and discovering centre stage.

To design enthusiasts, toy collectors and inhabitants of Apeldoorn, the name ADO brings to mind the special collection of wooden toys that was designed by Ko Verzuu between 1925 and 1955. This collection is not only inextricably bound up with local history but also closely linked to innovations in art, health care and pedagogy in the first half of the 20th century.

Occupational therapy for tuberculosis patients

In 1920, the sanatorium Berg en Bosch was founded in the sanctuary on the outskirts of Apeldoorn. This sanatorium offered rest and care to tuberculosis patients.

Once patients had recovered from their illness, returning to regular working life often proved to be difficult. In order to prepare patients better for their reintegration, the sanatorium developed a modern treatment: occupational therapy.

One of the ways this took shape was in the production of wooden toys. These toys were given the name ADO; an abbreviation that initially stood for Arbeid door Onvolwaardigen (Labour by the Deficient), but was wisely changed to Apart Doelmatig Onverwoestbaar (Special Functional Indestructible) in 1962.

Clear shapes, fresh colours and strong design

The colourful ADO toys were designed by Ko Verzuu (1901-1971), director of the ADO workshops. Verzuu’s designs for the many cars, trains, boxes of building blocks, doll’s house furniture, and games were inspired by the great artists of his time, such as Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) and Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944).

The combination of austere forms and a palette of bright primary colours explains the attraction these toys still hold. The pedagogical ideas of educational innovators Maria Montessori and Friedrich Fröbel were another source of inspiration for Verzuu.

Playing, looking and doing

The exhibition in CODA Museum has been designed by graphic designer Eloi Koster and furniture designer and interior architect Jesse van Lienen. Verzuu’s principles – discovery through play and giving the imagination free rein – are incorporated in this exhibition in an intricate way. Visitors are invited to assemble toys themselves in a reconstruction of the ADO workshop, and children can drive ‘real’ ADO cars.

Publication facsimile edition ADO Speelgoed Toys

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of ADO Speelgoed Toys (bilingual, Dutch and English), which was originally published by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1994. This beautiful 80-page book was written by Frederike Huygen and Johannes Teutenberg and is still in demand. The facsimile edition is available from the CODA museum shop for € 24,95 or in our webshop for € 24,95 + € 2,30 shipping costs within the Netherlands. Shipping costs for locations outside the Netherlands may vary.

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