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Kids

September 5 2012



JMD Design of Redfern, Sydney has created a cool kids’ outdoor space that makes us all want to run free and wild, with our hair blowing happily in the wind and our bodies full of positive energy.


 
The 20,500 square meter park, opened this summer, is located at Jamieson and Homebush Streets, in Sydney, Australia, and operates under the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.


 
JMD Design wanted to avoid the fenced-in, overly structure-based approach of many kids’ outdoor parks. They worked with, rather than against the earth forms of cones, cuts and terraces, established earlier at this site, and created a free-flowing, open play area with surprises and distinctive activity points.



The tree house is manufactured from galvanised steel, fibrous cement sheeting floors and walls, hardwood timber batten walls and ceilings, stainless steel mesh walls and ceilings with rope floors in some areas.


 
Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) designed the kiosk and petal roof canopy that overlook the water and sand play area. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

October 16 2007




Poetry and storytelling help us understand the world that surrounds us. Visual imagery allows the mind to draw parallels between what we see and how we think. Dutch designer Jurgen Bey has created a classroom that will inspire young minds to think beyond the realm of what is traditionally asked of school children. 



The classroom interior project is part of the ROC training school at Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Practically every surface of the room is covered with images found in books used at the school.  Centred around a palate of white and grey, Bey selected graphics then placed them around the space on walls, furniture and even the floor. Moveable screens allow the room to open completely or divide space depending on the activities taking place. 



One key feature, the highly wear-resistant flooring system made with Senso Freeze, contains a transparent resin that allowed Bey to embed digital photographs onto the surface.  Inspiration and creativity seeps from every surface - it's impossible to imagine what will be generated from the minds as they pass through this space. By Andrew J Wiener


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Kids

September 8 2009

Learning to ride a bike is one of the most valuable skills a child can learn, helping them master the art of balance, a skill crucial to so many other physical activities and sports. UK based Kiddimoto has created a range of cute-looking wooden bikes which are designed to teach young children precisely that - balance. The slimline, lightweight birch plywood bikes are easy steer and manoeuvre and feature proper rubber tyres, providing a smooth ride for little bottoms by gliding across outdoor surfaces.

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The Kiddimoto range comes in four styles, each based on a motorbike classic. From the 'Scooter', inspired by the mod scooter of the 60s, and the 'Chopper', a nod to future Easy Riders, to the Super Bike, based on real race bikes and the Srambler, a more traditional bike shape - the range has something for every dad, we mean, kid to get into. Now there's a thought. Do they make them in adult sizes? - Lisa Evans 


 

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Kids

November 26 2008



These cool images are from the fabulous Kinderdentist in Berlin. Designed by Brad Pitt’s favourite architecture firm, the super-creative and multi-functional GRAFT, this is the kind of place that makes us want to be kids again. Never thought we’d say that about a dental office, but what can we do? And why exactly is it that adults’ dental offices don’t look like this?


 
Kinderdentist is an underwater world of play and adventure with a 12-foot visual wave drawing the guests into to world of blue hues and pixilated schools of fish. You feel as if you were under water, in a submarine, just waiting for exciting things to happen. And yes, kids’ teeth get fixed there, too.


 
Originally established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects, Lars Krückeberg and Wolfram Putz, Graft expanded in 2001 when third partner, Thomas Willemeit, opened the Berlin office, and fourth partner, Gregor Hoheisel, established Graft in Beijing.
 
Now perhaps best known for its collaboration with Brad Pitt, Graft has always pushed the boundaries of mere architecture and is known for an enormous breath of projects. Architecture, interior design and art concepts, urban design, “eventing,” film and video projects, music, car design, commercials and exhibitions are just some of the things the prolific team has completed globally. Its architecture and interior design practice extends the breath of the field as well from furniture schemes to concept design of hotels, restaurants, clubs, offices, institutions, residences.


 
In the media, Graft is often labeled as something other than a ‘global architecture firm’ – including a rock band, a hippie commune and a bunch of eccentrics – and it seems that this is exactly what the partners like to hear. Willemeit has been quoted as saying that “In L.A. we’re these crazy German guys and in Berlin we are not accepted into the Berlin architecture mafia – we’re cowboys. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

December 10 2008



ArcheToys designed by Floris Hovers may be toys but kids do not need to get excited. Adults are going to scoop them up, now that they are apparently available - although we are not yet quite sure how or where we could buy them.
 
Hovers was born in 1976 in Raamsdonksveer in the Netherlands and graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2004. The first ArcheToy was an ambulance that Hovers created for his little cousin. The simplicity of the cars from the 1950s and 1960s charmed and intrigued Hovers and so he began to craft a fleet of specialty vehicles. They are archetypes of uncomplicated, recognizable form; toys for adults minus tiresome macho undertones.
 
Hovers introduced ArcheToys to the world at the November 2007 Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. His intention of designing furniture has now been sidetracked as these little things have taken off the way they deserve. More than 40 strong and growing, the ArcheToys fleet includes several that we simply must have — especially the hearse, combine and ice-cream truck. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

January 19 2009



We feel no sympathy at all for any kid in Berlin who complains about school if their school is Erika-Mann Grundschule II . Not only do the principles of their school seem like they were actually created for children, the school’s recently revamped environment is amazing – perhaps not surprisingly as it was designed by the kids themselves with Baupiloten, a group of architecture students.


 
Some time ago, we wrote about Taka-Tuka Land Kindergarten which was also designed by the same Baupiloten studio. It is a group of architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin led by architect Susanne Hoffmann who founded the studio in 2003.


 
Baupiloten projects allow the architecture students to experience all facets of a real-life project, from design to budgeting, cost control and site supervision. The students also learn to present to clients and to convince them that their solutions are viable and practical.
 
A group of just under 10 architecture students worked on the Erika-Mann Grundschule II project. The kids who are using the space participated actively in the design process, giving the architecture students their views on how they will actually use the space, how it should function and what they’d love to see in their school.


 
Together they sought to lighten and cheer up the heavy and authoritarian air of their old school building from 1915. They developed a playful concept based on a fantastical world of the Silver Dragon. The farther into the building one moves, the stronger one feels the presence of the Silver Dragon whose spirit changes, moves, glows and shimmers.
 
The different spaces are called Snuffle Garden, Snuffling Room, Chill Room and Dragon’s Breath, each starting with a clean white background and offering freedom of expression in the form of flexible furnishings.


 
The Chill Room located on the third floor includes one and two-person seating platforms covered with foam, tarp and various textiles. Meter-high petals protect each pedestal creating little isolated cocoons, each of which is also moveable and changeable by the children depending on what they wish at the time.
 
The Snuffle Garden on the second floor is furnished with horizontal and sloping surfaces for sitting, lying down or sliding. No wonder that the school was named one of Germany’s best schools at the end of 2008. - Tuija Seipell


 
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Fashion

April 29 2009



The owl as a fashion trend originated from the craft world. It has since been interpreted on many a fashionable outfit, toy, tote bag and statement accessory since. But none quite like this fabulous singlet dress ($45) for mini fashionistas, complete with ombre background to really make the owl print stand out!  Not only is it likely to offer wisdom to your emerging hunter of cool, but it will help you find them in crowds!!   

Kidswear has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years, led by a new generation of designers who have applied their creativity to the children's category, usually after having kids themselves. Today kidswear is a carbon copy of adult fashion - incorporating key trends.



(Above) Flannel Overshirt - $75,  Mini cord skirt $55, Bunny half length sweater - $55 

You know a brand has succeeded when you look at a kids item and want to wear it yourself. Like this new collection, which features graphic print t-shirts, shorts and boardies, which wouldn't look out of place on the backs of urban hipsters.



(Above) Bunny longsleeve tee $45,  Tote Bag - $35, Green Cave Man tee - $45, Panel Spray Jacket - $95


Unfortunately you need to be aged six or under to squeeze into them so we've accepted that they are strictly for kids. If you have any little people in your life, you can purchase a limited number of these pieces through us - email [email protected]



(Above) Mini cord dress - $75, dip dye sweater - $65



(Above) - Cave man tee - $45, Mini cord dress - $75)



(Above) - Pack Man tee - $45 - Smiley tee $45 - B+W shorts - $55


Kids

June 18 2011

Most hotels are decidedly kid-unfriendly, and even more so are hotels such as Jerusalem’s David Citadel Hotel, known as the home-away-from-home for the world’s celebrities and political leaders.



So, it is doubly delightful that this citadel of grown-up matters of importance now has a wonderful new kids’ space, designed by Sarit Shani Hay whose work we have presented before here and here.


 
Hay is responsible for the interior and furniture design of the 100 square-meter (1076 square-foot) space that has activity areas for little kids and computer desks for bigger ones.



We love the inclusivity of the room that is divided by clear blocks of primary colors. It has both angular and rounded forms, open and intimate spaces, soft and hard surfaces, items to interest both boys and girls, activities to draw little and older kids, and low-tech items such as wooden toys mixed with higher-tech elements such as computer stations and flat screens.



In this decidedly modern playroom, Hay has incorporated also some traditional Jerusalem themes, including the lion – the emblem of Jerusalem – and a windmill, cave and the Mahane Yehuda.



The horseshoe-shaped, 384-room David Citadel Hotel, located  within walking distance from the Old City, was built in the mid-1990s by local real-estate and hotel magnate Alfred Akirov. The building architect is Moshe Safdie and the hotel designers Chhada Siembieda & Associates. - Tuija Seipell.

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Kids

September 19 2006



It's the ultimate experience for kids, a night in an alternative universe at the Kids Sphere Hotel in Belgium. Known as the Atomium, a replica of an iron molecule with nine aluminum spheres (built for the World Fair of 1958), the complex has been renovated and updated to include overnight accommodation for childrens dubbed the Kid Sphere hotel - set amongst the fascinating sci-fi exhibitions and original spheres. Kids are entertained by a packed calendar of events including films and there's a restaurant at the top of the structure boasting panoramic view of the city of Brussels. by Bill T




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Kids

November 1 2006



Lets face it.  Being a hospitalized kid sucks. Apart from the obvious physical issues, the mental issues such as boredom can keep sick children feeling very low indeed. Design team, Jetske Verdonk, have come up with this simple and fun solution to trailing a drip frame around all day.

The Zieken+Huis is a drip-cum-tricycle which allows the pint-size patient to zip around the ward whilst remaining attached to their vital fluids and intravenous medication. In addition to this three wheeling wonder, the release of a curtain frame which drapes around the patient's bed has also been launched.

The frame allows 'get well' cards to be hung around it, acting as a decoration for the otherwise sterile looking beds. by Bill T

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Kids

October 5 2006



Cool designs does not have to be limited to spaces used by adults as we see with these unique areas designed to enhance places of learning.

Forget the "concrete jungle" archetypal school, complete with bars on windows. This school's hallways (pictured above) have been inspired by the imaginary landscape of the Silver Dragon. This environment is created to read like a story book; the further you progress through the hallways, the higher your senses are delighted. With shimmering walls, glowing ceilings and a fantasy feel resonating throughout the architecture, the children engage on a higher social level within the school environment.



Traditionally, libraries also suffer from an image problem. Hordes of books coupled with the 'sshhhh' factor doesn't make for a very cool environment. By installing colorful interiors such as oversized book sleeves, a learning space such as the library is transformed into an area which kids see as cool, and therefore are inspired to read and learn.



A tree-inspired day care center is a far cry from fake grass enhanced playgrounds. The tree trunk is the very foundation of the center, and as such creates the security blanket for the entire structure. This center evokes a warmth which the youngsters respond to. Dream Blossoms grow out of the trunk and create sleeping areas for the habitants to snuggle and nap in. Above the blossoms sprawls the canopy of the



In Lego-bright contrast to the gloomy fate H.C. Andersen prescribed to his original Little Mermaid (that would be death, no less), today's blond little school-going Danes are encouraged to do the sort of things for which some of us got spanked.



Visual artists have created a school with fascinating interiors that feature high window seating for watching the world outside; green platforms with round, red holes where discussions can buzz and bubble, and large upholstered tubes where kids can hide with a good book or spend some time alone. You can do that at school? Unfortunately, only in Denmark.

Children's bookstores, on the other hand, have not suffered by the traditional libraries image problem. Generally, these stores are designed and merchandised to inspire children to enter and purchase.

The Kids Republic bookstore in Beijing (pic below) has taken that concept and run with it. Incorporating the core design elements of a kid's playground, these slipperyslide-inspired-shelves house books in an incredibly fun way. Breaking from the traditional table and chair reading areas, padded L shaped reading stools are used and enjoyed by tiny readers. Dull lighting is replaced by snakelike fittings that radiate a variety of colors whilst providing adequate light to read with.



The choices for kid friendly restaurants, where both parents and kids can enjoy a meal and an environment which caters to both are rare finds. McDonalds have probably lost count of how many times they have dialed 911 to have a parent rescued from inside a playground slippery tube where they have been stuck whilst attempting to get their child to come home.



In a beautiful Dutch village, 10 minutes out from Amsterdam's centre, a parents dream like, kid friendly restaurant exists.

Praq is a restaurant where parents, outerwear and even business people can enjoy a meal and co exist without complaint. Children feel the sense of independence by being seated in a kids area within moms view. There, they can play with giant puzzles, draw, and order from their very own menu whilst seated at their specially designed kids table. The secret to the restaurants success is the use of space.

Praq has been careful in separating these eating spaces whilst still allowing a parent to keep an eye on their child. The light spacious room creates the impression of separation, whilst keeping safety in mind. The children's food is so good, they don't need to promote it by adding in a free toy.



Traditional cooking schools have always looked like a giant classrooms full of mini kitchens. A kids cooking school in Japan has broken that mould by having design guru Moureaux create a studio space and new corporate identity for them.

The cooking school, which is set in the heart of a shopping area in the city of Kyoto, has created a space which eliminates the intimidation factor which students encounter when entering cooking schools. By seating the class amongst brightly colored decor and sleek table and chairs, the environment feels less like a class room. Here the kids can not only cook in the casual teaching environment, they can socialize and eat their homework too.



With U.K parents said to be lashing out a cool GBP 1 billion a year on kids birthday parties, its easy to see that the kids party industry is a gold mine. As children's taste develop, so too does their demand for the latest and greatest (think Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka). For some parents, the age old sleep over is being replaced by a girls night out at Alton Towers Hotel in th U.K.

The hotel has it's own children's Sleep over Suite, a theme room which caters for up to six sleeping princesses who can indulge in the ultimate girls slumber party. The sound proof room is perfect for 3am giggling fits and Justin Timberlake blearing throughout the night.

The suite is divided into two areas. The party area features an over the top entertainment system, karaoke machine ('I will Survive' - Chipmunk version) mini dance floor and a pink fridge filled with ice cream. The sleeping area boasts chill out beds which connect into one big bed for six occupants, a wall to wall mirrored bathroom which is flowing with pampering products from U.K's leading top brand superdrug (limitless branding opportunities here).

At £300 pounds per night (US $560), mom and dad have outsourced the kids birthday party and only have to worry about the drop off and pick up.



Offering a kid a lollypop to welcome them into hospital is so 1950's. Today, that sort of a deal just doesn't cut it.

Instead of bribery through confectionary, this children's hospital in London has reinvented the concept of infirmary and transformed it into inFUNery. Adorned with cheerful, gently winding hospital corridors which lead to wards which look more like kids bedrooms, the hospital has mapped out themes for each of the wards. From the Seashell Ward located on Beach level one, through to the Sky level, each kids ward uses decor and medical equipment that is colorful, creative looking and non threatening.

With a glass atrium dividing the hospital, patients from either side of the wards can look across to see an inviting garden filled with plants, trees and yes, Juggling clowns.

From cool schools to hip learning environments, kids design is forging ahead, meaning the next generation of adults will have been exposed to the elements of cool since childhood, creating adults with a hightened sense of good design. If you know of other interesting kids spaces, let us know. by Bill T

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Kids

July 22 2006



No longer just the world's "workroom", China is rapidly becoming an international hot spot with a growing middle class hungry for western luxuries and comforts. Beijing kids are the latest to be treated to some western style indulgence with Kids Republic, a children's bookstore that transports it‚ pint sized customers into a delightful fairytale world full of color and fantasy complete with massive story telling screens and play areas. It's haven for little imaginations in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world. by Bill T

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Kids

May 1 2010

Kids have boundless imaginations. No matter how poor, colorless and toyless their environment, they’ll find a way to play. They will play with stones, twigs, grass and water, and they will play with each other. They’ll think up ways of turning mundane items into creations that have all the life of the latest computer game.

But only if they are lucky enough to have the free time to play, are not too hungry to move about, or have water to play with.



In this light, what our urban kids have available to them, is excessively abundant. They have daycare and play spaces, parks, playgrounds, even yards. Yet, when we look at the basic play environments in our communities, there’s no denying that they are sadly short of what they could be. With some color, imagination, labor and resources, they could all be so much better.



There are wonderful examples of this, such as the recent “accidental” kids’ park at Madison Square Park in New York. It is an art installation by artist Jessica Stockholder, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

The installation includes a multicolored triangular platform, a sandbox of bright-blue rubber mulch, multicolored bleachers and painted pavement. It was not intended originally as a children’s play space, but kids have taken to it like crazy, surprising both the artist and the Conservancy. The lesson we can learn from this is that if we point our resources in the right direction, the result can be infinitely fun and rewarding for everyone involved.



We spend millions annually on "adult playgrounds" — stadiums, concert halls, bars, restaurants. We spend billions advertising and promoting them. Why is it that we do not seem to want to dedicate the necessary resources to give our children the best we can offer?



Every dedicated kids’ arts organization will be able to point you to reams of research reports that show that early access to arts and arts education aids children in all aspects of their lives later on.

They will build self-confidence; discover their abilities, skills and talents; and in the best of circumstances, they will grow to be fantastic contributors in their communities. Yet another reason to make sure our kids live and play in environments that are rich in creativity, arts and inspiration.



If this generation of children is going to be responsible for solving the problems of a world where children are still too hungry to play at all, then we should be paying closer attention. We should be giving our kids — regardless of their resources — all the support and inspiration we can.

Anyone with creative ideas, energy, staff and money, can give to kids in his or her neighborhood. Who knows what could happen, if we as individuals, companies and cities paid as much attention to our kids’ play environments as we do to our own? - Tuija Seipell

Developers, city councils wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments and playgrounds effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

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Kids

February 22 2006



There's nothing like a picture of an earless dog drawn in crayon on your 85 dollar a meter wallpaper. Well this little gem of an idea will keep those little artists off your walls and on to paper, where they belong.

It is not only a clever idea, the children's paper chair also makes a statement about the amount of paper we use. As the paper is used, the front end roll becomes larger and grows with the child. The paper size is roughly 500 meters. That's a lot of earless dogs. by Bill T

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Kids

March 1 2011

There are no alligators outside this cool kindergarten, located in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel. But inside, there definitely are alligators and they are white.

White alligators may not be the first things that would come to mind if you were asked to design a kindergarten environment. But Tel-Aviv-based designer Sarit Shani Hay, creator of fun kindergarten spaces, doesn’t think like the rest of us.



She took her inspiration from the surroundings of the kindergarten — an agricultural training farm with lush vegetable gardens and purposeful functionality.

In her projects, Hay combines sleek functionality with unexpected whimsy, typified here by the white crocs that function as lounge chairs for the little ones.



Other focal points include a large mushroom that serves as a house, a hiding place and a play station; and a wooden house with windows and a red roof; and shelving units in the shape of  trees. All of these have a functional purpose and look inviting and cool, but the main benefit is their inspiration for play and interaction. Rather than just sitting there like any furniture, these pieces are also playthings that invite the children to discover and experiment.

The space has two rooms for two age groups: one for 1.5-2.5 year-olds, and the other for 2.5-3.5 year-olds. A large block of white closets divides the two spaces and hides the kids mattresses and contains each kid’s own drawer.



And, if you are like us and would like one of those gators, you will need to be in touch with Hay, because she both designed and made them by hand. Apparently, they are available in three sizes – we imagine them to be tiny-ish, plain scary and horrendous. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

June 1 2011

As we continue to wonder why so much more time, energy and attention is lavished on adults' play and entertainment spaces than on kids' play and  entertainment spaces, we sometimes find a cool spot worth mentioning.

The "sculptural playground" Schulberg located in a formerly neglected area overlooking the historic centre of the city of Wiesbaden in Germany, is one of such great kid-friendly environments. It is both kid- and adult-friendly and big enough to hold even the most active kid's attention for several visits.



Designed by Berlin-based ANNABAU Architektur und Landschaft http://www.annabau.com/index.php?site=projects&subsite=project&id=6, the pentagon-shaped play area mirrors the city's historic shape. The playground consists of three elements: A suspended net walkway loop supported by two undulating lengths of stainless-steel pipe; an artificial landscape created inside the loop; and a wide boulevard with benches outside the loop. - Tuija Seipell
 

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Kids

August 13 2007



We’ve been running into amazing walls recently (not literally, of course, or at least not physically) and this is giving us reassurance that “contractor beige” is not the only wall colour imaginable or acceptable. So, you can imagine the grins on our faces when we discovered E-Glue. The 3 month old French based company started by designers who create super-fun wall adhesives for kids rooms. The creative duo create all the illustrations and hand-make all the products. They ship worldwide but we see no reason to spoil the kids with such extravagance. We are ordering some for the office. By Tuija Seipel





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Kids

August 14 2007



Forget your traditional definition of an amusement park, Wannado City leaves behind the cotton candy, the solicitors of large stuffed animals, the mindless entertainment and trash. Instead the “city”� has redefined child entertainment with aspirational activities, all of which are framed around the question: “What do you wanna do when you grow up?”�



Wannado City was crafted from the vision of Mexican-born Luis Javier Laresgoiti, who had a eureka moment while watching his daughter “play executive” on his business phone. Laresgoiti, with the backing of several major corporations has crafted a dream world where children are encouraged to take on an adult profession and see where it takes them. The park is located in Sawgrass Mills Mall in Southern Florida.



Each venue has its own concentration, such as the Motorola-sponsored M-Lab that focuses on innovation and invention. The M-Lab turns each visitor is given a white lab coat and transformed into an “M-Ventor.”� The children are encouraged to work together on a technology-based game to solve a difficult problem. Once they’ve solved the situation at hand, they’re greeted with a congratulatory “Mission Accomplished”� banner.



M-Lab however, goes far above and beyond the standard protocol for children’s playthings. The space was designed in collaboration with Motorola and Gensler, a self-proclaimed “global design, planning and strategic consulting firm.” The M-Lab lures passer-bys with its façade — clad in stark aluminum and panelite — which contrasts with the surrounding “quaint village” motif. Inside there are seven chambers, each meticulously designed depending on the room’s task at hand. The end result is a realistic series of rooms that embrace each child’s fantasy of becoming the next influential innovator. By L. Harper

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Kids

December 21 2007



Ask a child what their favorite subject is at school, and chances are they’ll say recess. It’s the one time during the day when they are almost absolutely free to make decisions for themselves — from who to play with, what to play, and where to play. And as children grow, the social dynamics of who can play where shifts and an age-based pecking order ensues. 

The Netherlands-based design team at Carve integrate architectural expression into their playground design thereby generating unique play experiences for children of all ages. Don’t let the kids know, however that the Carve team strives to encourage a cognitive process — even during free time. This new equipment and play structures stimulate decision-making, group and continuous play (use of the same equipment in varying way) encouraging children to climb, hang, swing, skate, slide, run, jump, vault, hide.



One of Crave’s creation in particular, the wall-holla, has received special notoriety as it was nominated for the Dutch Design Awards in 2006.  Thirty children at once can climb, crawl, roll and maneuver through the large fence-like structure. Older children are able to scale the climbing wall or just relax and look out over the domain they’ve waited countless years to control. By Andrew J Wiener.




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Kids

November 11 2009

Just over a year ago, the former municipal mortuary at 104 de la rue d’Aubervilliers in the 19th arrondissement of Paris was transformed by Atelier Novembre into Centquatre, one of Europe’s largest artists-in-residence complexes.

There are no traces of what went on in the red-brick buildings before — coffin making, hearse repair and other such grim undertakings — it is now a place that exudes joy and play. Prolific and always fun Parisian designer Matali Crasset has now created a special 1,500-square-foot space for tiny artists as well. Maison des Petits (House of Little Ones) is an activity center for kids under six, where creativity and discovery are the only goals. Centquatre’s resident artists are encouraged to create toys and activities, but there is no set program.

Crasset’s colorful, surrealistic garden has a cozy and soft “navel” at the centre for the littlest ones to crawl in and for older kids, whimsical “activity mushrooms” and fun seats that look like gas cans or curling stones. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

September 5 2010



We would not have dreaded back-to-school if our school had looked like this! In fact, most of us would be happy if our office looked like this! Interestingly, more and more schools are starting to look like appealing places of work, while creative offices often look like play rooms. Is there some strange psychological explanation to this, or is it just that we are willing to break the perceived rules a bit and rethink what a school or place of work should look like? Design thinking in action?



This cool school is located in Cheseaux, north of Lausanne, Switzerland. The project by Lausanne-based Graeme Mann & Patricia Capua Mann has appeared in the media since its completion two years ago, but it deserves to be viewed again. We love the incredibly clean lines, minimalist use of materials and especially the light. The old thinking probably suspected that if classrooms had large windows and views to anything even slightly pleasing, kids would not pay attention to the teacher. They were right of course, but that had more to do with boring teaching methods than views. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

September 21 2010

Wasn’t it Andy Warhol who said something like “if we are going to be living much longer, we’d better learn to remain children much longer”? We are becoming more and more attached to this wise sentiment as we are seeing an increasing number of cool developments for kids’ spaces.



This gym certainly does not look like anything we can remember from our school days.This is an extension by the Swiss L3P Architects of the multifunctional double sports halls of Eichi Centre, located in the small town of Niederglatt in northern Switzerland. The original centre was built in 1985 by architect Walter Schindler. In 2007, a school house, also by L3P, was added.



Continuing the original centre’s theme of a basic square box or cube, and extending further the use of vivid colors and simple materials adopted in 2007, L3P has created a vibrant-looking addition that fits perfectly within the existing environment.



The 2007 colors were warm tones, oranges and reds. The colours used in this latest addition that started operation in August 2010, are equally striking but come from the cooler family of hues and include lime green and intense blue that are used in floors, ceilings and walls in surprising and unconventional ways.



Simple plywood paneling and the creative use of the circle are also used throughout this sports hall. Round holes perforate one wall of a long corridor to create interest and to insert both whimsy and much-needed light to what could seem like a boring tunnel. Circles are also imprinted on ceilings and walls in many areas to break up monotony and to depict a happy, bouncing ball. Tuija Seipell.

Stores

January 25 2013

Viennese moms and dads have yet another option to spoil their offspring: Bambini in central Vienna at Tuchlauben 7.

The interior of the 360 square-meter (3875 sq.ft) multi-level emporium of children’s high-end fashion was entirely custom-designed by the 12-year-old Viennese firm, Architektur Denis Kosutic, for the Vienna-based MB Fashion GmbH.



Carrying such brands as Armani Junior, Fendi, Gucci, La Perla, Roberto Cavalli, Versace Young and Missoni, this is MB Fashion’s first shop of the Bambini concept.

Kosutic and collaborators Mareike Kuchenbecker and Carina Haberl took a Wizard-of-Oz/Alice-in-Wonderland/Jules Verne approach yet cooled the usual color riot of kiddie stores down into a junior film noir environment



Everything from wall and floor treatments to furnishings and display elements was created specifically for this store.

With smoky grey as the main hue, the space is both imaginatively fun and slightly scary – and we all know that most kids love to be scared, if they feel safe.



There are surprises and details that don’t quite match, which makes the space interesting and fun, yet keeps the tone down at a tolerable level.



The custom-created surreal flowers-and-lollipops pattern appears in various places and at different scales throughout the store. Cage-like pillars made of copper tubing create the central merchandise displays and evoke a feeling of retro-futuristic submarine vehicles.



Velvet draping, soft floorcoverings and smooth surfaces on some furnishings add a softness to temper the hard and shiny metallic components.



Also custom-designed are the friezes of mushrooms, lollipops and pears, and seating shaped like bananas, strawberries, lemons and plums.

The designers aimed for a space that would “allow adults to be kids and kids to be adults.” We think they have succeeded. - Tuija Seipell.



Photographer: Lea Titz

Kids

December 10 2013

We love children’s spaces that celebrate the creativity and freedom of body and mind. This Educational Centre, located in the Kfar Shemaryahu area of Tel Aviv, Israel, surely does that.


 
The 2,400 square metre (25,833 square-foot) Centre includes six kindergartens for children aged three to six years, a common play area and an empowerment centre, a social services and wellness centre that also provides psychological services for children. Three of the six kindergartens are for the children of foreign residents and diplomats.


 
The architecture of the building is by Shoshany Architects and the interior and furniture design by Sarit Shani Hay.


 
Hay’s task was to create a friendly and informal integrated environment where each of the spaces functions as an independent unit.


 
She created individual color and design themes for each kindergarten space based on the agricultural history of the Kfar Shemaryahu area.


 
The kindergartens are named Olive (Zayit), Palm (Tamar) , Pomegranate (Rimon), Wheat (Hita), Fig (Te’ena) and Vine (Gefen).


 
The large, central lobby area connects the kindergartens and the empowerment centre and functions as a play area with equipment that encourages physical activity and interaction. Wooden tractors, lakes, trees and other equipment refer to the life of an agricultural village.


 
Our favorite area is the Palm kindergarten with its orange coloring derived from ripe dates, and its motifs referring to palm trees, oasis and camels. The little play huts provide nice cozy privacy and home-like details that encourage creative play. - Tuija Seipell.


 
Images by Amit Geron

Kids

October 20 2014

Children deserve much more attention in urban planning than what they are getting currently. As small children and toddlers are not likely to raise their voices to demand the attention, it is up to us adults to do something about it.

We need to support, demand and finance more initiatives that help children – and their parents – enjoy the outdoors, even in urban settings.



French urban planning and architecture firm Espace Libre, has created a delightful multi-functional play area for toddlers in the commune of Alfortville, located 7.6 kilometres (4.7 miles) from the centre of Paris.

Completed this fall, the 2500 square-metre (26910 square foot) play area includes features that encourage exploration, interaction and experimentation through all the senses.

It includes multiple elevations, many kinds of surface textures, many varieties of vegetation and shrubs, and multiple colors. Several kinds of lighting, interactive structures for swinging and bouncing, and interesting surfaces  – such as the strip of “street” meant for chalk art – all add variety to the enjoyment of this space. - Tuija Seipell.

 

 

 

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