Gal­le­ria opens dig­i­tal play­ground

Business World - - Hotthisweekend - THE RAIN­BOW TREE stands in the cen­ter of a room filled with ac­tiv­ity screens. Michelle Anne P. Soli­man

A GROUP of chil­dren in school uni­forms face each other as they stand on an un­der­lit floor. Sec­onds later, they run and scat­ter — hid­ing un­der ta­bles, climb­ing a rain­bow tree, or at­tempt­ing to cam­ou­flage them­selves with the dark room’s walls. All of them find a hid­ing place ex­cept one child, who runs around search­ing for his friends.

Robin­sons Land Corp. (RLC) opened PlayLab, a “per­ma­nent in­door in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal play­ground that of­fers phys­i­cal and tech­nol­ogy-based play­ing aids,” in Robin­sons Gal­le­ria in Que­zon City on Oct. 31 — the sec­ond PlayLab branch in the coun­try and the first in Metro Manila.

“It of­fers kids a new unique bond­ing des­ti­na­tion that is safe, whole­some, and pho­to­genic,” Dar­win Reno­layan, spe­cial projects direc­tor for Robin­sons malls, said in his pre­sen­ta­tion af­ter the launch on Oct. 30.

The dig­i­tal play­ground is meant for chil­dren be­tween three and 10 years old. The play area can ac­com­mo­date 200 chil­dren.

“Robin­sons Land de­vel­oped PlayLab to strengthen its po­si­tion­ing as a de­vel­oper of life­style or fam­ily-ori­ented malls,” Mr. Reno­layan said. It was built with the idea for chil­dren to have fun, in­ter­act with oth­ers, and learn.

“While our kids are im­mersed in tech­nol­ogy, we’d like them to en­gage in ac­tive phys­i­cal play­time, at the same time, be able to in­ter­act with [other] chil­dren,” Arlene Magtibay, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of the com­mer­cial cen­ters di­vi­sion of RLC, said in a speech prior to a tour of the play­ground.

The dig­i­tal play­ground has 14 in­stal­la­tions which were de­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with me­dia artists from Rus­sia, China, Sin­ga­pore, and the Philip­pines. WHAT’S IN STORE

Upon en­trance, chil­dren nav­i­gate through the In­fin­ity Pool — a room with floors glow­ing with cir­cles that light up and change color as they move around. The room is equipped with mir­rors to give the il­lu­sion that it is larger than it is.

One area fea­tures The Dig­i­tal Pain­ter, a pro­jec­tor-based tech­nol­ogy from Rus­sia where giant crayons are used to color white il­lus­tra­tions on­screen. “We en­cour­age kids to do this as a team be­cause when you color the en­vi­ron­ment there’s a spe­cial an­i­ma­tion that comes out,” Mr. Reno­layan said, re­fer­ring to a nurs­ery rhyme which will play only when the en­tire pic­ture is fully col­ored.

One room is filled with screens on which chil­dren can try dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties.

The Doo­dle Aquar­ium and Live Dreams re­quire kids to color on pa­per and have image scanned be­fore the il­lus­tra­tions come alive on­screen. In Doo­dle Aquar­ium, kids may draw any sea crea­ture; In Live Dreams, il­lus­tra­tions of uni­corns, fairies, gin­ger­bread men, and rocket ships are able to move and in­ter­act when their im­ages are tapped on­screen.

“For kids, col­or­ing is a very good pas­time. That’s why we re­quire a lot draw­ing and col­or­ing in­side PlayLab. Ev­ery time they have [their draw­ings] scanned, there is al­ways a ‘wow’ mo­ment,” Mr. Reno­layan said.

Mean­while, the Fan­tasy Slope shifts from pro­ject­ing an un­der­wa­terto outer spaced-themed slide with spe­cial ef­fects. Planet De­fense is a wall climb­ing area where chil­dren are given a mis­sion to de­stroy in­vad­ing aliens as they as­cend to the top of the wall.

An­other Land projects an un­der­wa­ter set­ting and cre­ates a sil­hou­ette of the player who gets to play with orbs found on the bot­tom.

Cre­ativ­ity is stim­u­lated with the col­or­ful cre­ations in But­ter­fly World. A child can have fun col­or­ing a but­ter­fly and a flower. Upon tap­ping the “bloom” or “fly” op­tions, the cre­ations are pro­jected on­screen where the flow­ers bloom on a tree and the but­ter­flies flut­ter around it.

In Ball Strike, the player is tasked to pro­tect the toys by throw­ing balls at tar­gets as aliens try to steal them.

Evo­lu­tion of Stars is a floor that lights up and can de­tect a max­i­mum of nine peo­ple. As a per­son lingers on a spot, the floor projects the names of stars — from pro­to­star to neu­tron star. “This is specif­i­cally tar­get for the tod­dlers who just want to walk around the area... It’s both pur­po­sive and eye candy for the tod­dlers,” Mr. Reno­layan said.

Rain­bow Tree is both a rest­ing area and an ob­sta­cle course. Swings and couches are scat­tered around the tree where guests may rest. A hole is found in the tree trunk which gives chil­dren ac­cess to the top of the tree. There they find a col­or­ful tram­po­line where they can play or in­sert them­selves in deep cir­cu­lar pock­ets.

The Fan­tasy Wa­ter Flow mim­ics the flow of wa­ter. There are ob­jects such as wheels, buck­ets, and um­brel­las with which play­ers can use to de­sign their own paths for the wa­ter to reach a plant.

The Tap Tap Wall is a giant light­board with cir­cles that turn on and off de­pend­ing on the pat­tern the guests cre­ate.

In The Giant, the player’s image is mag­ni­fied and points are ac­cu­mu­lated as they nav­i­gate in the chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment. A photo is taken on­screen and printed af­ter the visit.

“We in­tend to have a dif­fer­ent ros­ter of at­trac­tions per branch. We will re­pro­duce the at­trac­tion if it is a hit with the kids,” Mr. Reno­layan said.

Two ad­di­tional branches will open in Metro Manila in 2019.

PlayLab is open from Sun­days to Thurs­days, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fri­days and Satur­days, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tick­ets are at P450/head for two hours of play. Dis­counts are ap­pli­ca­ble for se­nior cit­i­zens and PWDs. It is ad­vised that chil­dren un­der six be ac­com­pa­nied by a guardian. PlayLab is lo­cated at the 4/F Robin­sons Gal­le­ria, EDSA cor. Or­ti­gas Ave., Que­zon City. —

PLAYLAB’s But­ter­fly world

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