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Pico Pao

Pico Pao is a workshop with a long history of craftsmanship that began in 1979 in Lubián, a small Spanish village nestled in the mountains on the border with Portugal. In the neighboring Portuguese county of Tras os Montes (“Beyond the Mountains”) the local woodpecker is known as Pico Pao (“Stick-Beak”).


The old dwelling where the workshop originated offers a view of the entire valley, where every so often a Pico Pao can be seen flying gracefully towards the chestnut forests. Some time ago, a woman lived in this house with her six children. The poverty that these children grew up in, along with an industriousness and an ingenuity that enabled them to make use of virtually any material they came across, resulted in some of the finest, most desirable toys a child could wish for.


Out of this resourcefulness and an admiration for the subsistence culture of these mountain villages grew this small workshop in Lubián. Here were made the first wooden replicas of old-fashioned toys, along with reproductions of the cameras used by the first street photographers and copies of traditional, pre-industrial looms.


Currently Pico Pao is in the process of re-founding the workshop, incorporating younger members of the family and focusing its activity on designing and perfecting original games. The newer games, which belong to the collection Ludus Ludi, are notable for their lack of rules; they can be seen more as exquisite raw materials for poetic experimentation, for the stimulation of abstract thought, for the interpretation of random discovery and for the playful enjoyment of the senses through direct contact with artistic objects. 


Pico Pao