The Modern Family Zone is itself a young'un, created only last year as the brainchild of Dwell on Design brand manager Michael Sylvester, who has always seen the show as kid-friendly. "In years past I saw people who brought their kids to the show," he says. "They would play on the couches, and no one seemed to mind." So Sylvester decided to open up an entire area dedicated to educational and interactive exhibits for kids. "Modern design is too fun to be left to the adults," says Sylvester. "Plus you're never too young to be exposed to great design."
Both design-savvy parents and their kids will be wowed by the Baroque curves of Gregg Fleishman's Playgoda play structures. Fleishman is a Culver City-based architect and designer who experiments with the relationships between geometric forms—most of his structures require no screws or nails to fit together. Fleishman's outlandish but completely functional cut-wood structures are designed to be used in applications ranging from disaster shelters to treehouses. The Playgoda is a "portable playground" made from all-natural Finland birch which can be shipped flat so parents and kids can put it together like a giant, climbable puzzle.
Kids can climb in as well as draw on another playhouse at Dwell on Design sponsored by IdeaPaint. You've no doubt seen this incredible dry-erase paint that can be applied to any flat surface, allowing you to turn your walls into legitimate drawing boards. Kids can go crazy customizing their corner with markers, which can be easily erased and readied for the next customer. After the conference we'll wipe IdeaPaint playhouse clean and donate it to CoachArt, a fantastic local organization here in L.A. that gives free, one-on-one lessons in the arts and athletics to children with chronic and life-threatening illness.
For those who want a keepsake of the weekend, Modern Kids Photography will be on hand for a permanent memento of your little one's personality. San Francisco-based Sarah Wert is known for her insightful style that brings a keen photojournalism eye to children's portraiture. Wert and her team of photographers will shoot a mini-portrait of your mini-me from 11am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.
And who doesn't love the quirky characters from Los Angeles company Paul Frank? The one-and-only Julius the Monkey will be paying a visit to the Zone to read books to budding modernists on Sunday, June 27 at 1pm and 3pm. Take a break and take in a few stories—we've been ensured by his handlers that Julius will provide plenty of monkey business to keep everyone entertained.