Melina is a place mat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you fold Melina conveniently, it turns into a little doll. Melina is inspired by an old popular toy that was widespread in postwar Italy. During this time, mothers and grandmothers created games for their children because they did not have enough money to buy toys. Often they used to make dolls by folding and rolling up a napkin or a bath towel to create the body of a doll. Along with the child’s imagination, this created the final doll.
This project by designer Valia Barriello turned a common object into a limited series contemporary design product, relaunching it according to the right scale, the folding and the graphics. Melina is multi – tasking, as can be easily used as a placemat as well as a doll.
“Melina shows how design helps to pass on play games from one generation to another. When I saw a friend’s daughter enjoying “the old napkins game” more than her new Barbie doll, I understood that in few gestures kids could see all the magic hidden in a simple object. Then I decided it was time to turn it into a versatile design
product” says designer Valia Barriello. “Melina was my grandmother’s name, who first passed this to my mother, and then to me.”
The idea of Melina is to add a basic design of a doll to the fabric to awaken the interest of a child for the love of simple toys. Melina can be used as a placemat or a toy for children. Melina is handmade (100% cotton) and available in three different models and colours.