Tokyo-based Play Design Lab is a "children's play research organization," meaning they design playground equipment. The company's stated approach is to combine pedagogical research with design refinement; to my surprise, I see that one of the designers in their stable is Naoto Fukasawa. Here are some of the pieces he's designed:
The endless road of BANRI is a slope to climb, a slope to descend, and a place to lie down. One of the depths of BANRI is that various actions are seamlessly connected on the same flow line.
DONUT is designed to respect and cherish safety, which sometimes spoils the fun of playground equipment, while retaining the unique fun of rotating playground equipment so that children can play comfortably and energetically.
Children who touch OMOCHI for the first time instinctively stick to its curved surface. Although it has the function of a general slide, climbing the stairs in the center and sliding down the slider on the opposite side, the children are not bound by that function, and the children follow their intuition and climb up the side and slide down, trying to feel and confirm the shape of OMOCHI with the whole body. These actions are meaningless for experienced adults, but for children they are important play to recognize bodily sensations.
One of the attractions of CUBE is the slide set at an exquisite angle. The gently made slope gives children new elements of play, such as climbing and lying down, in addition to sliding. You can slide normally, roll into a round hole from a slide, climb over a slide and go to the hole over there. When you get tired of it, turn around. Rising from bottom to top. It is a mysterious cube that will never let you down.
TAWARA, which swings back and forth by shifting your weight, allows you to experience a unique floating feeling, and even small children with light weight can control the speed and strength of the swing.
RAFT is the second moving playground equipment in the series. You can experience a unique feeling of floating by moving your weight back and forth smoothly. In addition to rafting boats, children create play by using this playground equipment as various things such as a "spaceship", a "robot" cockpit, or a "secret base".
Play Design Lab's parent company and manufacturer, Jakuetsu, reports that their head office is near a school; "we conduct monitoring surveys with the cooperation of kindergarten children, in which they actually play with the prototypes of the developed products," they write. How lucky are the kids at that school?
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