The play’s the thing

Suddenly it’s all about design for play – with the focus on children.

In this week’s Design Week Dominic Lutyens took us around a handful of new-wave adventure playgrounds – he was most impressed by the new Imagination Playground at Burling Slip in downtown Manahattan, designed by uber-creative US architect David Rockwell with its wind chimes and weathervanes.

Now we have news from Scotland of a couple of events with a strong focus on kids’ play as part of Architecture & Design Scotland’s Access to Architecture programme. A series of exhibitions and other events staged at Glasgow’s Lighthouse building will address playgrounds and sports grounds and their impact on the cityscape. Timely stuff in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

But  in design, we’ve learned it’s not all about children. Kids of any age can benefit from play – and that involves many in the creative community. Simon Waterfall of Fray spoke earlier this year of the importance of play in his life, where edges blur between work and play.

Meanwhile, other digital luminaries like-soon-to-be D&AD president Simon ‘Sanky’Sankarayya and Daljit Singh extoll the virtues of experiementation and R&D – surely euphemisms for play – and Neville Brody is backing risk. It all makes perfect sense and invariably results in great work.

The colour images here come from the Glasgow venture, taken from Parkour projects in Manchester, Glasgow and London. But you could easily substitute a few folk from design for the young people larking around here. There are worse ways to behave.

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