The Global Street Art office-gallery is full of art and curiosities. Hidden deep in Shoreditch, London, and bursting with nostalgia-fuelling finds, the last thing most visitors would think about the place is ‘it needs more colour’. But Lee Bofkin – CEO of Global Street Art and noted collector – is no visitor.
Details
Media:
Plastic
Words:
Lee Bofkin
Year:
Late 1900s
Early 2000s
Tagged:
Fandom
Toys

Happy Meals then, for happy meals now.

Deciding that the plain, solid-coloured lunchroom table wasn’t quite adding to the aesthetic of the office, Lee set out to design a replacement. 

Based on the idea of clear display cabinets often sold at toy fairs to collectors, Lee’s table design would display his decades-spanning collection of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, creating a purpose-built visual pun in the process: The Happy Meal table.

"

I wanted it to be something that serious collectors would appreciate."

Lee Bofkin

The Happy Meal Table was created in-house with artisan Alan Love (of Furniture of Love). “I had an idea of how I wanted it to be,” says Lee. “A clear glass top, but also clear sides...I didn’t want us to only be able to look down at the Happy Meal toys. 

I wanted it to be something that serious collectors would appreciate. The initial proposal was to have separatechambers like a collectibles cabinet, but that would havebeen too heavy and restricted things. Instead, there are acrylic pillars inside that allow the objects to float freely while also holding up and distributing the weight of the table. There’s a layer of acrylic and then a layer of glass on top, so it’s fully functional as a lunch table.”

“My favourite toy? Easy. It’s Mac Tonight.”

McDonald’s has two types of Happy Meal toys: Licensed and Unlicensed. Licensed toys include all those based on characters owned by other companies (like Disney), while Unlicensed toys are those created from original McDonald’s characters. At one point, McDonald’s was the biggest toy seller in the world.
Lee’s favourite toys are based on an unlicensed character called Mac Tonight.

Created in the late 1980s to advertise late-night Big Macs to latchkey teens, Mac Tonight was a huge hit with his crescent-moon head, sunglasses, and a penchant for playing the Bobby Darin hit ‘Mack the Knife’ on the piano. Despite this, the character was discontinued at the end of the 80s due to a lawsuit by the Bobby Darin estate.

Mac Tonight is joined in The Happy Meal Table by all sorts of beloved characters, including the transforming toys above. See them all – and a weird and wonderful mix of 20th-century ephemera of all sorts – only at Global Street Art.

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