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Brief Published: 12 Jan 2018

Colourful ‘Dough’ is Playful Alternative to Glue

PLAY by Stephen Johnson

British designer Stephen Johnson has developed an adhesive with the consistency of dough that can be used to bond a number of different materials. The colourful putty offers a fun alternative to standard glues.

Made with a mixture of synthetic and organic matter, Play can be used on wood, glass, marble and metal, and is strong enough to hold furniture pieces together. The adhesive mimics the children’s modelling compound Play-Doh and was developed to look and behave in the same way, but becomes incredibly rigid once cured.

The designer has produced a collection of tables to showcase the material in use. Various pieces of Play are used to fix wooden and metal legs to tabletops, squashed playfully into the joints. A series of lampshades explore it as a decorative element, with chunks of the material randomly layered and pressed to create a hand-built, haphazard surface.

The adhesive’s handle gives a unique aesthetic to products by displaying the maker’s fingerprints. See our A/W 19/20 Materials Focus report Sacred Earth for more on free-form craft.

Play aims to replicate the creative and innovative freedom explored by children when using modelling clay, encouraging users to create on a larger scale with more diverse materials. 

We are seeing an increasing number of playful surfaces and spaces that invite interaction. See Playful Optimism: Materials for more directions relating to this theme, as well as Gen Alpha: Childhood Rebooted