Design for Children's Playgrounds
Let’s talk about design. When we hear or read the term "design", we generally associate it with fancy clothing, expensive handbags, elegant cars and costly real estate. From the point of view of planners and architects, "design" may mean visual axes, symmetry or aesthetics. When we think of design, very few of us think of children's playgrounds, right?
But even children's playgrounds require "design", planning and a creative idea. However, it’s important to bear in mind that children and adults usually don’t find the same things "beautiful". Children don’t attach importance to geometric shapes, smooth surfaces and cold colours. While from our point of view, all this may be aesthetically pleasing and correspond to the style of the zeitgeist, it may not impress children at all. Children want to feel, smell, and taste, they want to dive into playing with all their senses. The things we adults who are obsessed with design typically want to get rid of are precisely the things that interest children the most: cracks and holes in surfaces into which they can stick small stones or flowers; materials with a warm and soft feel; rough, uneven surfaces. Children prefer muddy puddles to a brightly polished granite floor. Children don’t want to gaze at objects from afar, they want to touch them and find out what they feel like.
We’d like to approach the question of how children's playgrounds should ideally be designed in order to accommodate children’s joy of playing and the play value of the equipment while at the same time creating an exciting and appealing urban space for adults. This is why we are dedicating the third issue of our magazine to the topic "Design for children's playgrounds – a challenge with regard to aesthetics and content".
Text: Dr. Chloé Zirnstein