History of LaQ
JAPANESE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND THE CONSTRUCTION TOY
The history of LaQ began in the early 80’s with Hiroshi Kichijo, an inventor from Nara, Japan. He grew up in a 200 year old historical house built using traditional Japanese wooden architectural technology, the finest building skills of the early 1800’s. His childhood house along with other Japanese cultural values would later become an inspiration to his inventions.
Hiroshi was always creative with his mind set on inventing something completely unique, useful and entertaining.
HOW LAQ WAS INVENTED
LaQ invention was only possible due to the combinational of several Japanese inspirations including the culture of recycling and traditional Japanese architecture.
The philosophy of recycling materials has been a Japanese lifestyle tradition since the early 1600’s (Edo period). In the example below, one piece of cloth for a kimono would be reused over and over to adapt to current needs.
Old Japanese wooden houses were built without nails by firmly connecting pillars and sliding doors in a clever manner that can only be described as an artwork. Many professionals agree that the expertise used in old Japanese wooden architecture is perhaps the highest technical skill for wooden buildings as seen in old temples such as Hōryū-ji, the oldest wooden structure in the world.
Japanese wooden architecture is based on connecting pillars and sliding doors at angles. Western architecture, as a contrast, is made by stacking blocks using the brick and mortar style.
In 1993, the new toy was named “LaQ”. The letter “Q” in the name stands for the Japanese word "kyuu" which means sphere. The emphasis on sphere is due to how unique spherical geometric shapes can be created with it.
LaQ began selling in 1994 in local toy stores and bookstores. Several of those places were looking for an innovative and distinct toy and LaQ was exactly what they were looking for. Soon after, stores were running out of stock and before long LaQ toys were being sold in nearby cities. From there, it spread around the country and nowadays LaQ is found in over 2,500 stores in Japan. Among the most popular places besides toy stores and bookstores are schools, kindergarten and hospitals.
LaQ creation weaves in many Japanese inspirations, and the curiosity and imagination behind its invention resonates in the toy itself. It encourages children to use their imagination and creativity to the fullest by discovering ways to build what they see in their creative minds.
The philosophy behind LaQ is to offer families a toy that is not only fun and educational, but a toy that can be enjoyed by the child and parent together. We believe that great communication develops within the family when the parent and child are involved and connected through play.
LaQ is often experienced in play events and workshops always filled with children. Parents and children are usually involved in creating their artwork together and sometimes the parents are even more absorbed than the child!