Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vintage UFO Merry-go-rounds

Thanks to reader Peter Hoh for pointing me to the vintage playgrounds found on Nels_P_Olsen's flickr stream, including these seemingly UFO inspired merry-go-rounds that I'd never seen before.

Nels also has some great photos of rocket-ship playgrounds...have a browse!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Go Play!

Similar recycled materials are used by Go Play!, founded by Marcus Veerman, who are laudably taking an open-source approach to playground design. They plan to develop a graphics-based manual that anyone, any language or skill level, can download to build a playground based on locally available materials, incorporating local hands.

One of the things I admire about the work of Go Play! is that their playscapes are genuinely designed rather than merely installed.  They're site-specific (incorporating available features like trees or changes in ground plane), and exhibit a great deal of creative thinking about providing a range of play experiences within a well-planned playscape.  And they're constantly trying out new ideas.

Well done...I can't wait to see that manual!  Go Play's work is mostly in Thailand at present, but they have big plans.  See many more enchanting photos and get involved at their website.

Thanks to Kerala at KaBoom for the tip!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ghost Train Park, Basurama, Lima Peru, 2010

Thanks to reader Ángela León for telling me about this playground of recyclables constructed underneath the support columns for a train that never arrived.   It now has swings, climbers, and ziplines, mostly made from old tires, and all with a dizzying sense of height and danger (enhanced by the scale of the concrete columns)  that makes for a thrilling playground.    I especially love that there are LOTS of swings (most playgrounds don't have enough) which are clearly being enjoyed by all ages!

Great work by Spanish firm Basurama, who are known for their work with the landscape of trash.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ratatosk, Helen and Hard, 2010

I've just seen the 'Ratatosk' playsculpture, installed by Dag Strass and Caleb Reed for Norwegian firm Helen and Hard as part of the "1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces" exhibit at the V&A.  Though inspired by childhood experiences of climbing trees and described in the brief as a climbing structure, the split ash posts--cunningly joined (see photo) to smaller branches that splay out into a canopy of willow strips--were too fragile to really play on, and even the children out in the garden just gazed at it, avoiding both the museum guard on watch and the amorphous net bags of mulch forming its base (sensibly corralled, I suppose, to avoid any messy scattering,), which together added up to a forbidding, rather than inviting, installation.

Nevertheless, a pleasing visual and inspiring use of natural materials, though more about display than play.  Which is a failing playground designers must be careful to avoid, I think.