Play can boost physical development, promote healthy lifestyles, and even help children perform better in school. As adults, we scale back (or delete) playtime in favor of work and other commitments but the benefits of play never go away. According to a 2014 segment on NPR, play is an important part of adult community building, mental sharpening and helps us stay close to those that we love. EverBlock, a relatively new brand out of New York City, offers a modular building system of oversized plastic blocks that facilitates the construction of all types of objects, ingeniously creating a way for adults to play productively while designing the structures of our dreams.
EverBlock CEO, Arnon Rosan, is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on innovation and an eye for design. And design is key for EverBlock- the brand offers three block sizes in a rainbow of colors, along with finishing caps, to enable anyone to create spectacular structures large and small. The modular blocks have been used to create large scale structures, trade show booths, furniture, divider walls, DJ booths and even a few Star Wars characters. EverBlock has also been tapped for some productive, team oriented play by global brands like Marriott and Deloitte. We caught up with Rosan recently to learn more about EverBlock, its playful heritage and its connection to a childhood favorite. Play on…
How did EverBlock start?
EverBlock was an idea inspired by my kids. I had owned another business making modular flooring and sold that in 2013. My kids said, “Dad, you like to build things, why don’t you make a product that lets you build the things you want to build?”
This started as a project with my 11 year old twin boys and evolved into a real business, selling products around the world. We started shipping in March of 2015 and have already sold EverBlock in over 15 countries and throughout the USA and Canada.
What has the response been from the “other brand” selling blocks of different sizes?
No response at all. Their patents expired years ago and we don’t ever use their name or make reference to them. We really see ourselves as a very different product, very different brand, and our products are used for entirely different applications.
We see our brand as being about building life-sized objects that can be re-purposed and reconfigured. In many ways this ability to re-purpose EverBlock makes it a green building product.
What are some of the most creative EverBlock creations you’ve seen?
We continue to be surprised by the creativity of our customers, who often design things on their own in our online 3D virtual builder. We’ve see a full sized Formula One race car, a life sized Oscar statue, a Mario, an R2D2 that was 12ft tall, and our favorite – a full sized castle we created for the Bryant Park Winter Carnival.
I personally love to see large scale representations of day-to-day objects. We are working on a super-sized roller skate for a large skate park so that people can take pictures in front of it.
I’m curious to understand how people come to EverBlock- are they typically trying to solve a space challenge or Lego-lovers that want a grown up way to express their creativity?
I would say there are two kinds of customers, the ones that have a customized need for a particular size or configuration for a room divider, exhibit booth, or structure, and those that want to use the blocks for free play and to create customized furniture in their home or office. Everyone remembers the toy from his or her youth and I think that provides inspiration when building life-sized objects with EverBlocks.
The team building activities using EverBlock have been really interesting- can you shed some light on how teams use the blocks?
We have done some interesting team building events for The New York Red Bulls, Marriott, Deloitte and others. The exercises range from free-play to more structured events. For example, I heard that Marriott invited in some managers and asked them to build a “Food Truck” with the blocks. It was a way to collaborate, communicate, and bond. For the NY Red Bulls there were 165 people that had to work on building a 50ft wall by descrambling some word puzzles on the back of each block. When they solved the puzzle they got a column and together these formed the mosaic for their wall.
What’s next, in terms of new products, for EverBlock?
We recently added shelving units and desk tops and soon we will be adding additional block parts that work with EverBlock. On the list are a 3” x 12” piece that works well with our quarter blocks and a single 3” x 3” piece. We’re also working on a truly clear block, which I think will really be a nice addition to the line.
EverBlock’s modular plastic blocks come in all sizes and colors. Explore their design library or experiment with EverBlock’s 3D Virtual Builder and create away!