Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Playgrounds and Experience Design

Both David Rockwell and Frank Gehry are designing playgrounds for New York City. Playground design moves the typical design of an environment to more of a design of an experience.

Frank Gehry (far right) is one of the world's most influential architects famous for his metal-clad buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. He will be designing a playground for Battery Park in New York City.

David Rockwell (near right), the founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, a Manhattan-based architectural firm, is best known for his work designing theaters, such as the Kodak in Los Angeles (home to the Oscars); high-end restaurants, such as the various Nobus around the world; and Broadway stage sets, including those for "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde" and the coming "Catch Me if You Can." Now the designer of grown-up amusements is focusing on child's play and children's playgrounds.

In September, 2008, Rockwell and his firm will break ground on the Imagination Playground at South Street Seaport's Burling Slip (far left). Rather than slides and jungle gyms it will consist of an open multilevel space with large sand and water features, dams, cables, pulleys and an array of "loose parts" -- toys and tools that kids can use to alter the environment. And on July 9 the architect and KaBOOM! -- a not-for-profit playground builder -- unveiled, in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, his first playground-in-a-box (near left) - a collection of large toys and playthings crafted from molded foam and plastic. These portable sets of building toys are designed to encourage more creative and collaborative play than traditional post-and-platform sets. In this case he is moving object design to more of an experience design.

The Themes of the two parks are:
David Rockwell, Burling Slip: "The feel of a working slip!" Fall 2008.
Frank Gehry, Battery Park: "Where land and sea, history and modernity combine in a refuge!" Early 2009.

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