We have previously talked about how a toy without instructions designed by Cas Holman. It challenges different clichés related to the sphere of childhood and the toy world in general and lets a child re-imagine their own toy. Today we are writing about one such wonder, a playground made with imagination and the big blue blocks
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you want what you imagine, and at last, you create what you want.– George Bernard Shaw
Cas Holman was brought onto a team to re-imagine the archetypal playground and playground furniture by Rockwell group. At first, they were trying to create something new like, How can they make the playground look different? Beautiful sculptural things and different ways of holding up the slides. It looked different but the play was the same. The idea was to generate the adrenaline that a slide gives with quick uncontrolled movements. Ultimately, a playground made with imagination and the big blue blocks was created based on the Caroline Pratt unit blocks.
Imagination Playground has no shape, size or any defined entity. Kids use enormous building blocks and stack them/ join them / balance them or simply just place them around. It’s a way for children to build and create a playground that would change and evolve throughout the day. It gives them the sense of “I can do it, I can think for myself.” And be like, “Hey, I had an idea, and I did it.”
The large size of the blocks increases social interaction and collaboration as children work together to move them and construct temporary worlds and create their own games. It all started in New York in 2010, when the first “Playground in a box” was installed in a school and thereafter launched officially in 26th September, 2010. And after that many schools and public parks have adopted this playground made with imagination and the Big Blue Blocks. It has reached 25+ countries, 10,000+ schools and 100,000+ kids worldwide with initiatives by UNICEF’s P.L.A.Y.
We thought about how we could let the kids become the designers– Barry Richards (studio leader at Rockwell)
They believed that, the constructed environments were places that enforced certain hierarchies and power structures, are not always friendly to everybody, especially children. It sets a premade boundary for young minds and restricts their thought process into categorizing “RIGHTs” and “WRONGs”. To move away from this they wanted to create tools for children to feel understood for who they are, what they want, what they think, how they feel and finally what they can create.