playgrounds

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Amazing Art Design

Neighboring Communities Playfully Connect Atop Neon Pink Teetertotters Slotted Through the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

July 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello have long worked in activating structures in projects that blur the line between art and architecture. The Oakland-based duo, who self-describe as pursuing “applied architectural research”, also have a longstanding interest in the United States-Mexico border wall. In 2009 Rael wrote Borderwall as Architecture, which features a conceptual drawing of a teetertotter. The concept relocates the classic playground equipment to the border wall as its fulcrum. Ten years later, this cover art came to life in the neighboring communities of Sunland Park, New Mexico and Colonia Anapra, Mexico.

Constructed by Taller Herrería in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, neon pink teetertotters slot through the wall’s narrow gaps, allowing citizens on both sides to playfully engage with their cross-border counterparts. The fundamental design of the teetertotter, while delightful and chuckle-inducing, also functions by each user literally feeling the weight of humanity of the person on the other side. In an Instagram post announcing the project Rael shared, “children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.”

Rael and San Fratello worked in collaboration with Omar Rios to execute “Teetertotter Walls.” Rael is a Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and San Fratello is an Assistant Professor at San José State University. Dive into an archive of nearly twenty years of the duo’s socially engaged work on their website, and follow along with their latest projects on Instagram.

 

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Design

Minimalist Modular Systems Turn Walls Into Feline Playgrounds

May 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman, founders of CatastrophiCreations, design modular wall-mounted systems to keep cats active. Parents of humans and pets alike (myself included) are all too familiar with the trip hazard of toys scattered on the floor. Wilson and Hanneman move the activity zone to the wall with vertical playgrounds that allow cats to climb, jump, scratch, and even tip-toe across swinging bridges. Eschewing bright colors and plastic materials, the designers use solid wood, hidden brackets, and canvas to create more subtle and sustainable products. You can learn more about the the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based business in an interview and factory tour on Etsy’s blog. Check out their range of products, from the Thunderdome to the Temple Complex, in their online store.

 

 



Design

A Suspended Neon Net Invites Guests to Bounce Stories Above a Paris Shopping Center

April 19, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

A circular net in a bright shades of neon greens, yellows, and pinks hovers above the Paris-based shopping complex Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann in a new installation to celebrate the impending arrival of summer. The suspended playground gives visitors a chance to at once lie underneath the brilliant dome at the center of the building, while also watching shoppers bustling on the ground floor below. The installation is a part of the store’s Funorama initiative which in addition to the central play area, also includes “fun zones” such as old school arcade games, a VR experience, and foosball. Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann invites guests to play, bounce, and lounge on the colorful structure through June 9, 2019. (via fubiz)

 

 



Design

‘The Weaving Project’ Invites Visitors to Climb Inside a Massive Installation Formed From Nearly 10,000 Feet of Rope

February 20, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

For this year’s London Fashion Week, British fashion designer Anya Hindmarch collaborated with design collective Numen/For Use (previously) to create an installation that would excavate the playgrounds and play sets of visitors’ distant memories. The Tube, a bright blue structure created from nearly 10,000 feet of rope, was a part of a temporary pop-up in a Soho warehouse called The Weave Project which also included a cafe and store. The structure invited guests to revisit their childhood by climbing within the gigantic meandering structure. This is not the first time Hindmarch has used London Fashion Week as an excuse to create an installation dedicated to play— last fall the designer recalled another child-like object by producing a massive beanbag that filled the main room of London’s Banqueting House. If you like this work, check out Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam as well. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Design

Innovative New Playscape Designs by MONSTRUM Appear in Playgrounds Around the World

August 29, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For the last several years, Danish design firm MONSTRUM (previously) has constructed wildly imaginative playscape features for playgrounds around the world with an intense focus on both artistic and architectural quality. The playgrounds are designed and built locally in their large studio just outside Copenhagen and then shipped in components to sites around Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and even Dubai. The design studio has a strong background in theatrical set design which lends itself to their thematic playscapes, one of our recent favorites being the “Justin Beiver” playround in Partille, Sweden. Collected here is a sampling of designs from the last few years, but you can see more on their website.

Studio view

 

 



Photography

Photos of Japanese Playground Equipment at Night by Kito Fujio

June 29, 2017

Johnny Waldman

In 2005 Kito Fujio quit his job as an office worker and became a freelance photographer. And for the last 12 years he’s been exploring various overlooked pockets of Japan like the rooftops of department stores, which typically have games and rides to entertain children while their parents are shopping. More recently, he’s taken notice of the many interesting cement-molded play equipment that dots playgrounds around Japan.

The sculptural, cement-molded play equipment is often modeled after animals that children would be familiar with. But they also take on the form of robots, abstract geometric forms and sometimes even household appliances. Fujio’s process is not entirely clear, but it appears he visits the parks at night and lights up the equipment from the inside, but also from the outside, which often creates an ominous feel to the harmless equipment.

Speaking of harmless, the nostalgic cement molds have been ubiquitous throughout Japan and, for the most part, free of safety concerns. That’s because the cement requires almost no maintenance; maybe just a fresh coat of paint every few years. The telephone (pictured below) is evidence of how long ago the equipment was probably made.

The sculptural cement equipment was a style favored by Isamu Noguchi, who designed his first landscape for children in 1933. Many of his sculptural playground equipment can be found in Sapporo but also stateside at Piedmont Park in Atlanta.

Fujio has made his photographs available as part of a series of photobooks (each priced at 800 yen) that he sells on his website. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Design

A Giant Friendly Octopus Forms an Immersive Playground for Children in Shenzhen

April 13, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman (who previously produced this oversized bunny in Taiwan) has unveiled his newest large-scale animal design, this time with the function of a playscape for Vanke Group's One City development in the centre of Yantian, Shenzhen. The playground is designed within the eight legs and head of an octopus, a piece that is named after the mythological sea creature Kracken despite its friendly appearance.

The octopus was designed alongside the team at UAP, which helped Hofman bring his imaginative work to life, and plays off of the history of the area which previously housed a battleship in its harbor. The Kracken is now docked as a place for imaginative play, rather than attacking other sailing vessels at sea. (via Designboom)

  

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite