It’s pretty cool being a kid. The future generation gets awesome playgrounds and loads of unstructured playtime, while adults sit idly by, watching from the sidelines. But the latest from Kartell—the Italian furniture company best known for the ubiquitous, transparent Louis Ghost chair—strikes that sweet spot, appealing to both young and old.
Italian designer Fabio Novembre conceived Villa after years of creating play architecture for his two girls. The result is a line of translucent, colored plastic dollhouses that are minimalist in profile yet functional to adults and children alike. Perched on legs, the structures feature a gabled roof and two floors, with one side open like shelves, and the back closed save for window cutouts in various shapes like arches, circles, and squares.
Though they are certainly more abstract than realistic (and far from elaborate), the dollhouses are nevertheless compelling in their own way, and come in modern colors like gray, neon green and pink, purple, and white. The shelves can act as little rooms for figurines, or simply as shelves for books and other small objets, making it a piece of furniture that a family could ostensibly share across generations.
Dollhouses can be cool alternatives to traditional shelving, as seen in these midcentury pieces by Judson Beaumont. Even Zaha Hadid got in on the action.