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A former glass-making workshop turned into a 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 into a 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

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

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_Staircase for lectures

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. 

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia_Exhibit Island

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

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. 

Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia_Kids-Friendly play room

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. 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.       

Photos by Coordination Asia
Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia_Connecting lights
Kids Museum of Glass 2.0 by Coordination Asia_Light through glass brick wall

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