Kids

Kids

September 5 2010



We would not have dreaded back-to-school if our school had looked like this! In fact, most of us would be happy if our office looked like this! Interestingly, more and more schools are starting to look like appealing places of work, while creative offices often look like play rooms. Is there some strange psychological explanation to this, or is it just that we are willing to break the perceived rules a bit and rethink what a school or place of work should look like? Design thinking in action?



This cool school is located in Cheseaux, north of Lausanne, Switzerland. The project by Lausanne-based Graeme Mann & Patricia Capua Mann has appeared in the media since its completion two years ago, but it deserves to be viewed again. We love the incredibly clean lines, minimalist use of materials and especially the light. The old thinking probably suspected that if classrooms had large windows and views to anything even slightly pleasing, kids would not pay attention to the teacher. They were right of course, but that had more to do with boring teaching methods than views. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

May 26 2010

Fitzroy High School has a long history in Melbourne. The government school closed in 1992 but it re-opened in 2004, after an 11-year campaign by parents and residents. In 2009, its senior students gained an exciting new building, designed by Melbourne-based McBride Charles Ryan who we have featured previously.


 
The school’s philosophy of innovation in education is reflected in the striking new building that connects with a cluster of older school buildings, some more than 100 years old. The new building’s exterior walls are deliciously wavy and painted in stripes of secondary colours, all of which helps the building both blend in and stand out.


 
Inside, the studio spaces had to remain extremely flexible and their configurations had to be easy to change by staff. The solution is deceptively simple: Bright-colored drapes and splashes of color that define a space. The school brought McBride Charles Ryan the 2010 Grand Prix at the Dulux Color Awards while the interior won in the Commercial Interior category. - Tuija Seipell

For a comprehensive visual presentation of schools/universities with thousands of visuals to excite you, contact TCH Platinum. Schools wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

Kids

May 1 2010

Kids have boundless imaginations. No matter how poor, colourless and toyless their environment, they’ll find a way to play. They will play with stones, twigs, grass and water, and they will play with each other. They’ll think up ways of turning mundane items into creations that have all the life of the latest computer game.

But only if they are lucky enough to have the free time to play, are not too hungry to move about, or have water to play with.

In this light, what our urban kids have available to them, is excessively abundant. They have daycare and play spaces, parks, playgrounds, even yards. Yet, when we look at the basic play environments in our communities, there’s no denying that they are sadly short of what they could be. With some colour, imagination, labour and resources, they could all be so much better.



There are wonderful examples of this, such as the recent “accidental” kids’ park at Madison Square Park in New York. It is an art installation by artist Jessica Stockholder, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

The installation includes a multicoloured triangular platform, a sandbox of bright-blue rubber mulch, multicoloured bleachers and painted pavement. It was not intended originally as a children’s play space, but kids have taken to it like crazy, surprising both the artist and the Conservancy. The lesson we can learn from this is that if we point our resources in the right direction, the result can be infinitely fun and rewarding for everyone involved.



We spend millions annually on "adult playgrounds" — stadiums, concert halls, bars, restaurants. We spend billions advertising and promoting them. Why is it that we do not seem to want to dedicate the necessary resources to give our children the best we can offer?



Every dedicated kids’ arts organization will be able to point you to reams of research reports that show that early access to arts and arts education aids children in all aspects of their lives later on.

They will build self-confidence; discover their abilities, skills and talents; and in the best of circumstances, they will grow to be fantastic contributors in their communities. Yet another reason to make sure our kids live and play in environments that are rich in creativity, arts and inspiration.



If this generation of children is going to be responsible for solving the problems of a world where children are still too hungry to play at all, then we should be paying closer attention. We should be giving our kids — regardless of their resources — all the support and inspiration we can.

Anyone with creative ideas, energy, staff and money, can give to kids in his or her neighborhood. Who knows what could happen, if we as individuals, companies and cities paid as much attention to our kids’ play environments as we do to our own? - Tuija Seipell

Developers, city councils wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments and playgrounds effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

 

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Kids

January 7 2010

Perhaps out of necessity or just for a sad lack of creativity, architects and designers of kids spaces - kindergartens, schools, playgrounds — have been obsessed with durability, cost-savings and maximization of space.


 
For so long, a tiny nod to fun and play has sufficed. A few splashes of colour and some clunky plastic structures have made a depressingly boring space supposedly suitable for children. Yes, money is often the main barrier, but it certainly cannot be the only one. We have needed a change in how we design for kids and we think this change is happening.


 
Kids’ environments are slowly getting more serious consideration in terms of design, innovation, creativity and groundbreaking solutions. We have also noticed, that adult work spaces have started to resemble kiddy play rooms with flexible and crazy-creative work areas, lots of colour, fun details. The result of all this? We now see kids’ play spaces that look sophisticated yet fun, AND we see adult work spaces that fit the exact same bill. Soon you won’t even notice when kindergarten ends and work life begins!


 
A recent example of a sophisticated and creative private kindergarten comes from Israel. The cool, Bauhaus-inspired building is located in Tel Aviv metropolitan district’s upscale, mainly residential neighborhood of Ramat Hasharon that is also known for the Israeli Tennis Centre and the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Tel Aviv-based Lev-Gargir Architects designed this space with Bauhaus principles in mind in both floor plans and elevations. The usual requirements — safety, flexibility, good light — are all well met, but what we like is the sense of light and airy freedom.


 
The slightly Scandinavian sensibility is a beautiful change to the visually busy sensory overload that is often offered at the other end of the spectrum of new children’s spaces. This makes the lovely statement that a stimulating, creative environment for children does not need to scream. Children themselves provide the colour, movement, sounds and action, and the quieter, calmer surroundings leave room for the kids’ own creativity.



For this project, Lev-Gargir Architects worked with the well-known local children’s interior, furniture and toy designer, Sarit Shani Hay, whose details and playful touches in furniture, materials, colours and accessories express an understated respect for children. Nothing is in your face, aggressively demanding attention. Shani Hay is a graduate of London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design. She opened her Tel Aviv studio in 1995.


 
Lillach Lev and Elan Gargir, both graduates of Haifa’s Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), established their practice in 1999. Lev-Gargir Architects works in a variety of projects from private residences to commercial buildings and retail environments. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

November 11 2009

Just over a year ago, the former municipal mortuary at 104 de la rue d’Aubervilliers in the 19th arrondissement of Paris was transformed by Atelier Novembre into Centquatre, one of Europe’s largest artists-in-residence complexes.

There are no traces of what went on in the red-brick buildings before — coffin making, hearse repair and other such grim undertakings — it is now a place that exudes joy and play. Prolific and always fun Parisian designer Matali Crasset has now created a special 1,500-square-foot space for tiny artists as well. Maison des Petits (House of Little Ones) is an activity center for kids under six, where creativity and discovery are the only goals. Centquatre’s resident artists are encouraged to create toys and activities, but there is no set program.

Crasset’s colourful, surrealistic garden has a cozy and soft “navel” at the centre for the littlest ones to crawl in and for older kids, whimsical “activity mushrooms” and fun seats that look like gas cans or curling stones. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

September 8 2009

Learning to ride a bike is one of the most valuable skills a child can learn, helping them master the art of balance, a skill crucial to so many other physical activities and sports. UK based Kiddimoto has created a range of cute-looking wooden bikes which are designed to teach young children precisely that - balance. The slimline, lightweight birch plywood bikes are easy steer and manoeuvre and feature proper rubber tyres, providing a smooth ride for little bottoms by gliding across outdoor surfaces.

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The Kiddimoto range comes in four styles, each based on a motorbike classic. From the 'Scooter', inspired by the mod scooter of the 60s, and the 'Chopper', a nod to future Easy Riders, to the Super Bike, based on real race bikes and the Srambler, a more traditional bike shape - the range has something for every dad, we mean, kid to get into. Now there's a thought. Do they make them in adult sizes? - Lisa Evans 

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Kids

January 19 2009



We feel no sympathy at all for any kid in Berlin who complains about school if their school is Erika-Mann Grundschule II . Not only do the principles of their school seem like they were actually created for children, the school’s recently revamped environment is amazing – perhaps not surprisingly as it was designed by the kids themselves with Baupiloten, a group of architecture students.


 
Some time ago, we wrote about Taka-Tuka Land Kindergarten which was also designed by the same Baupiloten studio. It is a group of architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin led by architect Susanne Hoffmann who founded the studio in 2003.


 
Baupiloten projects allow the architecture students to experience all facets of a real-life project, from design to budgeting, cost control and site supervision. The students also learn to present to clients and to convince them that their solutions are viable and practical.
 
A group of just under 10 architecture students worked on the Erika-Mann Grundschule II project. The kids who are using the space participated actively in the design process, giving the architecture students their views on how they will actually use the space, how it should function and what they’d love to see in their school.


 
Together they sought to lighten and cheer up the heavy and authoritarian air of their old school building from 1915. They developed a playful concept based on a fantastical world of the Silver Dragon. The farther into the building one moves, the stronger one feels the presence of the Silver Dragon whose spirit changes, moves, glows and shimmers.
 
The different spaces are called Snuffle Garden, Snuffling Room, Chill Room and Dragon’s Breath, each starting with a clean white background and offering freedom of expression in the form of flexible furnishings.


 
The Chill Room located on the third floor includes one and two-person seating platforms covered with foam, tarp and various textiles. Meter-high petals protect each pedestal creating little isolated cocoons, each of which is also moveable and changeable by the children depending on what they wish at the time.
 
The Snuffle Garden on the second floor is furnished with horizontal and sloping surfaces for sitting, lying down or sliding. No wonder that the school was named one of Germany’s best schools at the end of 2008. - Tuija Seipell


 
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Kids

December 10 2008



ArcheToys designed by Floris Hovers may be toys but kids do not need to get excited. Adults are going to scoop them up, now that they are apparently available - although we are not yet quite sure how or where we could buy them.
 
Hovers was born in 1976 in Raamsdonksveer in the Netherlands and graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2004. The first ArcheToy was an ambulance that Hovers created for his little cousin. The simplicity of the cars from the 1950s and 1960s charmed and intrigued Hovers and so he began to craft a fleet of specialty vehicles. They are archetypes of uncomplicated, recognizable form; toys for adults minus tiresome macho undertones.
 
Hovers introduced ArcheToys to the world at the November 2007 Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. His intention of designing furniture has now been sidetracked as these little things have taken off the way they deserve. More than 40 strong and growing, the ArcheToys fleet includes several that we simply must have — especially the hearse, combine and ice-cream truck. - Tuija Seipell

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November 27 2008




One of the easiest ways to make a boring space more vibrant is to use colour. However, as so many of us can remember, obvious opportunities to do this have been missed for decades in schools, universities and hundreds of other places where young people are more or less stuck for long periods. Luckily, today’s kids have better luck – at least in the schools where Amsterdam’s i29 has had its say.


 
i29 Interior Architects consists of two interior designers – Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen – and is known for clear, bold solutions. A good example of this is their custom furniture project for a Het Veer. It is a public school in Almere, a city located 25 kilometers east of Amsterdam and often referred to as the most modern city in Europe. Het Veer is a school for children with learning and concentration difficulties and the objective of i29’s work was to express and entice concentration, playfulness and movement. Their eight different white and red tube furniture pieces can be mixed and matched creating various formations. They play off the Buzz Wire science game that teaches about electric circuits and is based on concentration and hand coordination.


 
At the Caland Lyseum in Amsterdam, 1,500 students work in a sport-centric environment where they receive coaching for their specific sport and in academic topics. i29 was asked to envision  the public spaces – including the main hall, staff room, library and computer/media room – for the new Bos & Partners architects-designed building with its gray brick, glass walls and unusual floor plans. They used large images of the school’s famous sports hero alumni and then custom-created multi-functional tables, benches and signage, plus a color scheme for the common areas. The award-winning solution matches the dynamic and multicultural life of the school yet lets the buildings features dominate. - Tuija Seipell

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Kids

November 26 2008



These cool images are from the fabulous Kinderdentist in Berlin. Designed by Brad Pitt’s favourite architecture firm, the super-creative and multi-functional GRAFT, this is the kind of place that makes us want to be kids again. Never thought we’d say that about a dental office, but what can we do? And why exactly is it that adults’ dental offices don’t look like this?


 
Kinderdentist is an underwater world of play and adventure with a 12-foot visual wave drawing the guests into to world of blue hues and pixilated schools of fish. You feel as if you were under water, in a submarine, just waiting for exciting things to happen. And yes, kids’ teeth get fixed there, too.


 
Originally established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects, Lars Krückeberg and Wolfram Putz, Graft expanded in 2001 when third partner, Thomas Willemeit, opened the Berlin office, and fourth partner, Gregor Hoheisel, established Graft in Beijing.
 
Now perhaps best known for its collaboration with Brad Pitt, Graft has always pushed the boundaries of mere architecture and is known for an enormous breath of projects. Architecture, interior design and art concepts, urban design, “eventing,” film and video projects, music, car design, commercials and exhibitions are just some of the things the prolific team has completed globally. Its architecture and interior design practice extends the breath of the field as well from furniture schemes to concept design of hotels, restaurants, clubs, offices, institutions, residences.


 
In the media, Graft is often labeled as something other than a ‘global architecture firm’ – including a rock band, a hippie commune and a bunch of eccentrics – and it seems that this is exactly what the partners like to hear. Willemeit has been quoted as saying that “In L.A. we’re these crazy German guys and in Berlin we are not accepted into the Berlin architecture mafia – we’re cowboys. - Tuija Seipell

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