Buren, known for his use of bold stripes in his installations, cooperated in this work with French architect Patrick Bouchain.
As his inspiration Buren used the ideas of Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782-1852), the German pedagogue who created the concept – and word - of kindergarten.
A large room on the museum’s first floor is now a colorful miniature city where the guests, adults and kids alike, can walk and play and interact with the many shapes.
The installation aims to celebrate the relationship between the museum the institution and its guests, the community.
We love the intriguing vistas, the complete lack of text or explanation, the honest openness of the invitation to enter, explore and play . - Tuija Seipell.
In this children’s indoor playground called Mama Smile, French-born, Tokyo-based architect, Emmanuelle Moureaux, has created a friendly and harmonious atmosphere that gives both children and parents a break from busy shopping.
Located inside a shopping mall in the town of Mito 100 miles North East of Tokyo, Mama Smile looks deliciously inviting with its soft, muted color palette and its friendly visual language employing the simple shape of a house.
Moureaux says that the colorful space is also expected to help with the growth of the mind of the child from the viewpoint of “iro-iku”, a Japanese term describing a method of using the effect of color to bring up concentration and imagination.
Moureaux, who moved to Tokyo in 1996 and established her architecture firm there in 2003, is known for her continuous study of color. Her color work includes the art installation “100 colors” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Mitsui Building, and in 2014 in 51 Uniqlo stores in 26 cities in eight countries.
She has also created the concept of shikiri, a made-up word that means “dividing space using colors.”. - Tuija Seipell.
More recently, Thürmer’s team completed the Kids’ Museum of Glass located in the same Shanghai-based complex and opened a few days ago.
Cool and edgy, quite literally, the Kids’ Museum has none of the typical cute and cuddly kiddie features found in spaces dedicated to children. Instead, the target audience, kids aged 4-10, enter an environment of glass, particle board and metal realized in a color scheme of black and white sparsely livened up with lemon yellow, saturated pink and cool blue.
The museum is designed to teach kids the basics of glass in a playful and fun way. The museum mascots, Bobo and Lili, guide children in their glassy hometown through various features, including The Beach, The Circus and The Factory.
Everything is designed to be touched and interacted with. Simple actions and gestures allow children to learn how lightning can create glass, how a glass prism works or what smart glass is. Performances, films and glass demonstrations entertain them in the Fire Theater and Up-Cycling Theater.
Kids can also practice their sketching skills in one of the ‘Draw Me’ installations. There are also two cafes and a shop for souvenirs, as well as a separate party space for rent for school groups, birthday parties or events by family-oriented brands.
The 2000 square metre (21,530 sq.ft) Kids’ Museum of Glass is located in the industrial Baoshan District of Shanghai and it is part of the massive former glass manufacturing site that covers about 30,000 square meters (322,920 sq.ft) and includes thirty existing buildings. When the redevelopment of the site was first envisioned and a 20-year plan created, the site was renamed G+ Glass Theme Park (Glass, Art, Research and Technology Park). - Tuija Seipell.
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.
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.
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
Once again, we find ourselves featuring the work of Masquespacio, the Valencia, Spain, based studio with an eye for crisp, fresh interiors.
Masquespacio’s principal, Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, has been hard at work completing the graphic design and interior design for a just-opened language school with a minimal budget.
The 183 square meter (1,969 sq.ft.) language school called 2Day Languages is located in a heritage building in central Valencia. Its target audience is a 20 to 30 year-old international student for whom the school offers flexible learning options, cool surroundings and even a cooking class!
The space is divided into three class rooms, a staff room and a lounge. The colors and components of each space stem from the speech bubble/flag logo of the school. The three brand colors – blue, yellow and pink – represent the three levels established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Additional influence comes from the neoclassical architecture of the building, new and old architecture of Valencia, and parts of the Spanish language.
We love the use of pine wood and crude-looking stackable and light-weight furniture. We love the semi-domestic feel created by this furniture, the casual cushions, lighting and plants.
The entire space looks inviting and friendly, yet the lovely skeleton of the grand building is visible in the plaster moldings, the height of the rooms and the gorgeous windows.
Particularly intriguing are the 10 frames of crafty nails-and-wool-thread artwork, created by Masquespacio and involving 6400 nails and 2500 meters of wool. Tuija Seipell.
Photography: David Rodríguez from Cualiti
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
Ecole Maternelle Pajol, a four-classroom kindergarten on Rue Pajol in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, combines so many of the things we love.
Parisian architecture office Palatre & Leclère has restored and reimagined the 1940s building, yet they have left the basic feel of the structure unchanged. We believe in repurposing and saving older buildings, but letting them tell their previous stories, even in their new guises.
We love color, especially when it is used to brighten up an otherwise drab or monotonous environment. This kindergarten clearly speaks the language of joyful color.
We love it when public art and public buildings and spaces are used to express joy and be playful, too, not just to parade impressive and “acceptable” art and architecture. Of all places, shouldn’t a kindergarten resonate deeply with children, not just adults?
And of course we love any project that invest the same time, effort and resources into spaces and places for kids than we are used to investing into adults’ play.
In Ecole Maternelle Pajol, Palatre & Leclère used color boldly both inside and out. They also provided a variety of shapes and forms in the furniture, furnishings and on the walls, in the play areas, rest areas and even in the bathrooms. In addition, they provided a variety of textures from tile and glass to rubber and wood.
The building has kept its 1940s brick-wall feel, yet it radiates exuberance and has an up-to-date energy. Most likely its current users feel it was built just for them.
Palatre & Leclère is an architecture agency founded in 2006 by Tiphaine Leclère and Olivier Palatre. - Tuija Seipell.
Youth Factory, Factoría Joven, in Mérida, Spain, is an example of what can be done if a regional government works with the community and local designers to meet the needs of youth that may otherwise be heading down the slippery path of street life.
The structure may not be a permanent monument to architecture, but it is definitely a better place than the back streets of Spanish cities. We are all for any attempt at all to provide children and youth a place to be kids, to be creative and just have some fun.
Factoría Joven was designed by Madrid-based Selgascano Architects, a partnership between husband and wife, José Selgas and Lucía Cano.
Using recycled furniture, inexpensive building materials and temporary solutions, the designers were definitely not looking to build a monument to architecture; they were much more interested in affordable ordinariness and practical possibilities.
Factoría Joven helps attract the restless, unemployed street youth off the streets and provides them with a place to skateboard, hip-hop dance, climb rocks, create graffiti — whatever they would otherwise do in much more sinister surroundings. There are also a computer lab and a dance studio, both 800-square-meters in size. Meeting rooms and spaces for theatre, video and music are all included.
This is one of several such “youth factories” in the area; recreational centers and places that are inclusive, open and safe. - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Roland Halbe.
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.
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.