Playful Design

crochet playground

As if I needed another reason to wish I was in New York right now, the MOMAs Century of the Child: Growing by Design exhibit is in full swing and oh how I wish I could be there to check it out.  Nowadays, incredible design has infiltrated the playroom and the playground, and parents and children alike are choosing high-end designer toys and furniture in lieu of boring plastic alternatives, but this is not a new phenomenon. Designers have been creating for children for ages because it allows them to unleash their inner child, and because they know that great design enriches us all. In honour of the Century of the Child exhibit I thought we could have a look at how playful design has been incorporated into the creation of schools and playspaces. Not only are these spaces beautifully designed, they also help foster a child’s natural curiosity and love of learning.

crochet playground view 2crochet playground 3Crochet Playground by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam via playscapes

This crochet playspace created by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam is pure inspiration. Not only is it remarkable to look at, I imagine it would also be tremendous fun to play in.  The incredible playgrounds Toshiko creates are made out of miles of yarn and much of the work is done by hand. To see more of these beautiful playgrounds head here.

Swedish Open SchoolSwedish Open School via Apartment Therapy

Swedish Open School 2Swedish Open School via apartment therapy

Often, design for children takes into account philosophies on education and child development, as is the case with the open schools movement in Sweden. The open school is one that does away with walled classrooms in favour of open spaces where children can interact with others of various ages, and learn independently. The Telfonplan School pictured above is modern and airy, a far cry from any of the boxy schools I’ve ever encountered.

Leimondo NurseryLeimondo Nursery School via dezeen

Leimondo Japanese Nursery SchoolLeimondo Nursery School via dezeen

This open concept Japanese nursery school is the work of architects Hirotani Yoshihiro and Ishida Yusaku for Archvision Hirotani Studios. The design allows natural light to come in through skylights, and a sense of openness and interconnectedness is created by artful cutouts in the walls between rooms. I only wish I could see this space full of toys and children playing, without which the space is beautiful but a tad sterile.

Ecole Maternelle PajolEcole Maternelle Pajol images via Palatre et Leclare Architectes

Ecole Maternelle Pajol interiorimages via Palatre et Leclare Architectes

I think any child would love to go to a school that looks as joyful and colourful as this Parisian kindergarten. Architects Palatre et Leclare converted an old school from the 1940’s into a rainbow-hued place to learn and play. I wish all schools could look like this.  For more pics of this phenomenal project go here.

crochet aligator playgroundCrochet Alligator Playground by olek via designboom

crochet alligator playground by olek, seen upcloseCrochet Alligator Playground by olek via designboom

Here’s another example of a crocheted playspace; this one is in Sao Paulo and it is the creation of Polish street artist olek. An original alligator playground sculpture, designed by Marcia Maria Benevento, was covered over the course of the week in crochet for the SESC Arts Show 2012. My crochet hand gets tired just thinking about all the work this must have taken.

That’s a wrap for our look at design for children’s spaces. If you’re in New York be sure to check out the Century of the Child exhibit, and let me know how it went. The show runs until November 5th.

Happy Friday Everyone!

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