CHICAGO – Room Copenhagen Inc. is out to make it a little more fun for kids to pick up their toys.
The Danish housewares company, working with a license from Lego A/S of Billund, Denmark, has created a series of storage boxes and containers with the distinctive colors and locking knobs of the building blocks.
Kids can build the boxes on top of each other, arranging storage just as they do their toys.
"It's tricking the kids into organizing," said Anthony Mallamaci, marketing coordinator for the Copenhagen-based company, during an interview at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 2-5.
Room Copenhagen has molding in China and distribution for North America in Texas.
The Lego line – all molded from polypropylene – also includes water bottles and lunch boxes that look like the building blocks as well as round head shapes that fit onto the storage boxes.
For 2-year-old Room Copenhagen, creating products through licenses with established companies gives it a step forward in recognition in a crowded field. In Chicago, its brightly-colored Lego-inspired shapes helped draw buyers for key retailers into the booth, Mallamaci noted.
Lego is not its only arrow in the licensing quiver. A line of dinner ware and storage systems molded from melamine draw in the adult buyer by linking to Pantone Inc. — the international color specialist based in Carlstadt, N.J.
The Pantone line shares a focus on functionality with the Lego brand products, Mallamaci said, but is obviously geared at a far different audience — an adult aware of design trends more likely to use plates for sushi than peanut butter sandwiches.
The company has small storage boxes appropriate for desks or kitchens based around eight to 10 Pantone colors. A desk organizer has a non-slip pad to keep cell phones secure, along with an opening to straighten out the tangle of electrical charging lines. The coffee cups are even branded with the Pantone logo and the color's official name.
Room Copenhagen also has a series of products based around Panton's "color of the year." Last year it was "tangerine tango." For 2013, it is emerald green.
The Pantone line allows the company to show off its design refinements for a whole different set of buyers than those considering Lego-themed boxes, Mallamaci said.