NITAPROW brings the outdoors in at Playville nursery in Bangkok, creating a dynamic interior-scape where young kids can test their expanding physical prowess.
July 25th, 2019
Nature is an excellent learning ground for young kids, but it’s not always the most forgiving of contexts. Could inspirational aspects of nature be brought indoors as a mechanism for learning in a playground environment? NITAPROW explored this theme in the design of the Playville nursery in Bangkok.
The 266sqm interior builds on a key way that toddlers navigate and engage with the world – through their relationship with the ground. Swaying, wobbling, walking, climbing, crawling and diving – NITAPROW conceived a variety of architectural terrains and play structures that amplify the effect of the ground on how a young child explores and moves.
The geological diversity of nature encouraged the designers to identify four zones, pairing them with different areas in the nursery. The entrance hall refers conceptually to fog and mist. Termed ‘The Fog & Tree Tunnel’, this zone creates an entry experience marrying enchantment (thanks to misty-looking gradient film) with solidity and warmth (via wood cladding and a tunnel-like experience).
The next zone, the transition hall, is termed ‘The Hill & The Burrow’ and consists of a raised timber platform with safety nets that accommodates climbing and sliding as well as hiding away beneath it. Arched portals lead to the next zone.
“Hard flooring shifts to low-impact flooring as the little ones become physically charged with excitement while moving further into the play areas,” explains NITAPROW.
The designers continue, “Wood was in the original briefing for the main play structures. We continued the use of wood throughout the play space wherever possible.”
‘The Dune & The Oasis’ correlates with a covered naturally ventilated area that faces east and enjoys the gentler sun of the morning.
This sandy zone runs along the façade behind a timber screen that dapples the sunlight.
The main play area is termed ‘The Island & The Lakes’ and builds on children’s drive for repetition with continuous circulation loops around a playhouse and islands. A pool of translucent balls gestures to the fluidity of water. Custom designed foam blocks create a soft edge to the ‘water’. Illuminated ceiling panels are suggestive of the sky.
Solar gain through southern and western glass facades is mediated by a pixelated felt screen. Each vertically threaded strand of the screen consists of a series of felt shapes, progressing through 21 variations from a circle to a square. The greater visibility and light facilitated by the circular end of each strand is enjoyed near floor level, while the square end creates more considerable shielding near the ceiling.
This is the first project NITAPROW has designed for children. While a playground consultant, as well as the client’s own insights, informed the design process, the one-year-old daughter of Prow Puttorngul (Co-Founder of NITAPROW with Nita Yuvaboon) and a troop of nieces and nephews were as informative and inspiring as formal research and guidelines.
The results have been as unpredictable as could be expected. “Toddlers are a joy to watch anywhere!” says NITAPROW.
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