In 1920 the architects and artists Blanche and Paul Mahlberg collaborated with their colleague Bruno Taut to design a set of children’s glass building blocks. Only eight prototypes were ever made, one of which is being offered in Berlin for €22,000.
Titled Dandanah. The Fairy Palace. Building Blocks of Solid Glass. Invented by Blanche Mahlberg. Models and Designs by Bruno Taut, the octagonal 10 x 10in (26 x 26cm) wooden box contains 61 red, green, yellow, blue and clear glass building blocks and six silkscreened patterns, among them Oriental Palace and Old versus New. The latter contrasts a traditional house with a tower block.
The toy was supposed to be produced by the Bing factory in Nuremberg, using blocks made by a prism manufacture in Berlin. However the production never got off the ground. The bankruptcy of the financiers and the galloping inflation of the 1920s put paid to the ambitious plans.
The set in Berlin has been consigned from Magdeburg which makes it possible that it came from the family of friends of co-designer Bruno Taut, who was employed in the city at the time Dandanah was developed. It is slightly different to the other known sets, most of which are in museum collections throughout the world.