SHANGHAI’S 100ARCHITECTS ANIMATES A DRAB PLAZA WITH A VIBRANT PLAYSPACE FOR KIDS
A playground in Shanghai has its users seeing red – in a good way
One of the latest interventions by 100architects of Shanghai has its users seeing red – in a good way. An open-air crimson swath covering 245 square metres of an otherwise grey retail plaza, the Red Planet playground, as the architects have called it, is located in one of their home city’s biggest shopping centres. Designed to attract customers to the mall and to foster interaction among those who use it, the permanent installation features organized spaces for a variety of activities atop a vibrant patch of PVC sport flooring. One end of the playground is defined by a running track. The other side contains a “bubbling” basketball court dotted with mounds that even the smallest children can climb, sit on and slide down. According to the architects, who specialize in street architecture and once covered Mexico City’s main plaza with a giant, Mayan-inspired painting, many children have been using the playspace “in ways we did not imagine at first,” creating their own games among the hillocks and pyramids. Those pyramids, made of wood and steel, are clad with chalkboard, allowing kids to use them as drawing surfaces. Other features include whimsical slanted umbrellas and benches for parents. Strategically placed LEDS illuminate the site, which, if a Youtube video showing children of all ages delighting in the project is any indication, has given the plaza new life.
The PVC sport flooring on which the playground sits was chosen for its softness and durability. Existing street furniture, such as this arch partially wrapped in red metal, was co-opted by the installation, adding to its surreality. A pair of umbrellas cap the site’s largest mound, which houses grey metal tiers for climbing and sitting. The running track that serves as a border for one side of the site weaves around chalkboard pyramids.