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play by philippa

a blog about all things play

Category Archives: Design

Wouldn’t it great to transfer every old billboard in this way? Yes i know it looks completely unsafe, but the idea is completely inspired.  The artists/architects from Mesarchitecture  aim to provide a welcome break from the modern urban space, for two people,  by providing a ‘urban reanimation device’ that although risky allows a new perception of the city to develop.  The idea is that “they will both escape and dominate public space through a game of equilibrium and desequilibrium.”

Double Happiness reminds me of when I would swing upside down in my own backyard, and viewing my surroundings from this angle would create a whole new perception of the world.

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I get so excited when I discover a cool playground on the web however I am even more excited about this Playground dubbed ‘Geopark’.  ‘Geopark‘ is completely constructed using recycled materials left over from the local oil industry in Stavanger, Norway.

The Norwegian Architects Helen and Hard utilized the expertise and materials (including waste) obtained from the oil industry as well as the involvement and ideas of local youths to create a park sensitive to the site and needs of the community. The park includes spaces for play, skate and riding and discarded objects are used to create a jumping landscape, a trasfer basket, chill-out area and an exhibition space to house graffiti and street art.

‘Geopark’ was originally intended to have a lifeline of one year,  however’ according to the Helen and Hard website, there are discussions to make the Park a permanent feature.

Thank you to Abstract Noun and Apartment Therapy for their Photos.

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Earlier this year I made an effort to visit the Kolle 37 Adventure Playground in the district of Prenzlauer Berg while in Berlin. After speaking with one of the ‘educators’ I learnt the Playground was founded over 20 years ago with children free to roam in and out of the playground when they please. ‘Educators’ maintain the playground’s safety and encourage children’s development in play and experimentation by providing interesting spaces inspired by the elements, such as the supervised fire, the adventure fort, the sand pit, the water fountain and “The Hut”.

The Kolle 37 Adventure Playground is modeled on 5 Basic Key Principles: 1. Creates Conditions, 2. Openness, 3. Care, 4. Participation and 5. Community Orientation.

What I liked best about the playground is that the Children or Adolescent users of the space are not viewed “as objects of adult guardianship, but as equal human beings” with an opportunity to determine their own play experience.

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Take an old but adored Japanese Zelkova tree, previously used by kindergarten children for climbing and games, and make it the central focus and natural component to a multi leveled learning and playing space that is the Fuji Kindergarten “Ring Around a Tree”. In this spiral of glass and wood designed by Tezuka Architects, children are encouraged to move between their 6 multi levels with complete freedom “to learn through the senses and body”. I Love Salvator-John A. Liotta’s description of the Kindergarten in his article for Domus Magazine, “A visual turbine driven by the energy of childhood and nature.” This is how we should be designing educational spaces for children, where learning and play should coincide in perfect harmony.


Images courtesy of Domus Magazine.

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I was recently told about these extraordinary ‘travelling rings’ at Riverside Park, New York and after a bit of research I also found images and videos of these swings from Muscle Beach, Santa Monica. These athletes or ‘flyers’ make swinging on metal hanging rings from one end to another look effortless. There are some great videos of the ‘travelling rings’ being used on youtube, with kids as young as 5 having a go! This is a great example of fitness disguised as play and shows that you are never too old for a swing. I wonder could these ever work in Australia?

Images linked to sources.

 For more information about travelling rings visit the

 Ring Flyers website.

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I recently visited  the Manly Vale Community Garden on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and really loved it. There was a true spirit to the garden and the involvement and commitment by the community could be seen in the beautifully kept veggie patches and the small orchard. Children were playing on all play equipment pieces especially liking the rockers and the double mound slide. I personally enjoyed the basket swing and just overall relaxing in the space.

The Manly Vale Community Garden blog has further information about the garden, becoming a member, as well classes and events on organic gardening. So get gardening, oh and playing of course!

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What can be more fun than swinging inside your house? Search ‘Indoor swings’ into google and you are bombarded, and in my case inspired, by some fabulous images of swings in some even more fabulous interiors. So I thought I would inspire you too.


Images linked to sources.

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