Interview with Christian Spiess – Designer of Tawa

Naef: What motivated you to design building blocks? What was your inspiration for TAWA?
Christian Spiess: It all began when I wanted to make a present for my godchild Emil for his first birthday. I became so absorbed in the search for a new building block design that I missed his birthday. Emil received TAWA for his third birthday.

Naef: What is special about TAWA?
Christian Spiess: The elements can be stacked and put together in countless different ways. This itself is not a novelty for a construction toy, but thanks to the 45-degree twisted facets, TAWA opens up possibilities that did not exist before. Additionally, TAWA can be combined with the classic Naef blocks – the combinations and possibilities are therefore limitless.

Naef: What does the material wood mean for you?
Christian Spiess: My first career choice was a carpenter. I love the feel and smell of solid wood. Even today I am drawn to this material. With wooden toys, each piece is an individual, which becomes increasingly beautiful as the years go by. Wood is a living material. The dents and scratches created by playing contribute to the uniqueness of each block!

Naef: What made you approach Naef to produce the blocks?
Christian Spiess: Naef is part of Swiss design history. When I finished the design, I knew immediately that it would fit into the Naef product line. TAWA has the same DNA as the wonderful Naefspiel designed by Kurt Naef, without infringing on his design.


Christian Spiess was born in 1981 in Biel, Switzerland. After completing secondary school, he spent a year in the French-speaking part of Switzerland as a carpenter, and then completed an apprenticeship as a decoration designer in Vevey. He then, amongst other things, spent time on a ranch in Western Canada as a caretaker. Back in Switzerland, at the age of 24, he began studying industrial design at ECAL (University of Art and Design) in Lausanne. Upon graduation, he worked for four years at Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec in Paris. Since 2013 he has had his own design studio in Zurich. For more information, visit

Since 2017 Naef produces the Tawa. There are two Versions, one in blue and another left in natural Wood.