THE NAME: Bototoy – The name is a mash up of the words: Toy Robot. The word play made it sound playful, street and Pinoy due to its closeness to the sound of the word “putotoy” (a common Tagalog/Filipino endearing term for penis). Since it’s only one of the few toys made and conceptualized in the Philippines, rooting the name locally was intentional since most toys from other countries gives one an idea about its origins.
DESIGNER: Arnold Austria - “Creativity knows no boundary” is a statement that holds true to Arnold Austria. Born to a family of artisan goldsmiths in Bulacan, He took up Architecture in University of Santo Tomas and has worked on several building projects in different scales most recently the Ronac Art Center. As Creative Director of Jagnus Design Studio, an architectural firm he co-founded with Sonny Sunga, he recognized the limiting side of his profession typically constrained by requirements imposed by clients, building laws and other factors in order to realize the final outcome.
ORIGIN: This unwillingness to be boxed in by rationalism prompted him to conceive objects such as toys, chairs, sculptures that serve purely his own personal pleasure. His designs characterize the modernist leanings of his firm’s architecture with clean lines, purity of form and exceptional craftsmanship as its hallmarks. His influences come from various unexpected places that left an impression on him be it an odd bottle design, comic books or just daily bits and pieces that others may even consider junk. With no one to answer to for his works, the architect says, “Their only function is to make one smile”.
INCEPTION: “Bototoy is a product of the architect’s childhood memories”. He never outgrew his penchant for Japanese robot cartoons and extensive collection of various imported toys. ”I used to draw robot characters when I was a kid and BOTOTOY is one of them, I even constructed one out of cardboard toothpaste boxes”, says the architect. His fondness for wooden toys and building blocks further incited this idea to produce BOTOTOY using real wood. The decision to finally make his own toy materialized when he collaborated with Detalle Furniture’s Mady Beldia, Architect and designer/producer of fine local furniture. Detalle chose the material and oversaw the production employing their craftsmanship in accordance with the architect’s specifications.
MATERIAL / SPECIFICATION: Bototoy is made of Gmelina Wood (Scientific name: Gmelina Arborea), also called “White Teak” or “Beechwood”. In the Philippines, Gmelina is commonly used for furniture, cabinetry, mouldings and wood sculptures, particularly for religious statues because it is fairly easy to carve. It’s the perfect material for custom wooden toys because it is lightweight, can be easily sanded and receives paint or varnish very well. This makes it an ideal canvas for artists who wish to personalize their toys. Gmelina’s beautiful grain and natural cream/yellowish brown color gives BOTOTOY its characteristic 100% wood look that is different from imported wood toys available in the market today.
VIBE: BOTOTOY’s local take of an imported concept made this genre of art more democratic since vinyl , with all its good qualities is more expensive to produce. The toy is easier to produce in wood here in the Philippines since Gmelina is a fast growing tree and is native to tropical countries.
BOTOTOY comes in two sizes, Medium (14") and Large (18"). With seven articulations and detachable/interchangeable parts, turning BOTOTOY into a custom art piece is an absolute joy for any artist or toy aficionado. The figure is fully customizable. Carve, paint, draw or stick anything to it and make it uniquely your own. "Do whatever you want with your BOTOTOY!";)