Michel Svane Knap's PineStack toy is everything I love. Created for his Master's project at Kolding School of Design Denmark, this modern interpretation of the traditional stacking tree is beautiful, educational and fun.
Aimed at toddlers (18 - 36 months), PineStack can be stacked in different ways and is decorated with a pine needle/branch/cone design in shades of yellow and green, thus mimicking the tree's changing appearance throughout the seasons. The tree trunk base doubles up neatly as a lid, making the toy easy to store and carry around. Four little familiar animals that live in or near pine trees are included, and can either be played with separately or placed on the tree (they all have magnets attached which either attract or repel). I can imagine lots of stories and pretend play happening here!
I have no idea if this toy design ever went into production, or if Michel Svane Knap has further plans for it. Check out his industrial design portfolio on Behance, where I discovered PineStack, his space-saving rocking horse and corian lighthouses are equally original. One to watch out for, me thinks!