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A former glass-making workshop turned kids museum

Coordination Asia’s design for the Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 in Shanghai is a sophisticated scheme that appeals to both young and old.

A former glass-making workshop turned kids museum

The newly opened Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 in Shanghai is a bright, modern public space that encourages independent learning and exploration.

Designed by Coordination Asia, it occupies 2,320 square metres across two floors of a former glass-making workshop.

The designers have taken advantage of its generous proportions to create an immersive environment where exhibits and installations are connected through a scavenger hunt that invites children to seek out clues within the space. 

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Art & design museum for kids
Art & design museum for kids.

Environments designed for children can sometimes rely too heavily on garish colour or over-the-top themes, rendering them unappealing to adults (and perhaps not all that attractive to young ones).

In the Kids Museum of Glass 2.0, Coordination Asia’s founder Tilman Thürmer and the project team deliver an outcome that instead draws on a sophisticated material palette and intelligent planning.

“When it comes to designing a museum for children, the challenge lies in finding the balance between what they want and what their parents desire during a visit,” he says. “So we managed to create a satisfying learning experience that offers common ground for both sides.”

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Colour contrast
Colour contrast.

The building’s original timber ceiling and exposed brick walls have been preserved and like the rest of the interior finished in stark white. It’s a very contemporary interpretation of a ‘white cube’.

But unlike traditional gallery spaces, this one is dynamic, with a myriad of textures and blackened steel platforms and staircases to punctuate it.

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Exhibit Island
Exhibit Island.

Customised glass brick walls break up the open-plan yet still allow for an even distribution of natural light, while subtly patterned flooring and exposed ceiling beams and services bring an industrial accent to the scheme.

It makes for an effective and unexpectedly neutral backdrop into which the designers have inserted boldly coloured and intricately configured exhibits.

Multimedia and digital content also plays an integral part in the design, with a mirror maze, sound installations and an interactive motion-tracking exhibit proving popular.

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Layers in space
Layers in space.

Animated lighting rods run throughout the space as do brightly coloured characters that pepper the walls.

Such graphic elements add visual interest and a further sense of curiosity, without downplaying the sleekness of the overall design.

As Thürmer explains, “Sometimes we underestimate how much potential young children have to appreciate art and culture, as we often assume art is for grown-ups only.

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Kids-Friendly play room
Kids-Friendly play room.

But in this project, we wanted to show that a museum for children can be cool, artistic and kid-friendly all at the same time.”

This is a space that educates and entertains, providing children with memorable experiences that they can take away and reflect upon.

Coordination Asia

Coordination Asia

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Connecting lights
Connecting lights.
Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Artistic installation
Artistic installation.
Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia Light through glass brick wall
Light through glass brick wall.

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