While I love to feature high-design projects like the Nova, there is always a special place in my heart for the small and inexpensive, and low-cost projects can (and should!) be just as visually appealing as any grand design.
The playscape designed by Indian design firm Gudgudee for the Research Society – Jai Vakeel School for children in need of Special Care, Mumbai, India fits the bill: it has been dubbed “Chiri Chiriyo”, which means laughter of a child in Malayalam language.
In quite a small space, Gudgudee has installed a sensory landscape with great local texture: bamboo chimes from local Maharashtrian craftsmen (who usually carve out flutes) and copper bells in different sizes and resonances from Kutch region of Gujarat. Setting both these items into colorful, geometric metal frames adds significantly to the visual character of the space. Convex mirrors–like those used for store security–are readily available, inexpensive, and add that optical element I’m always looking for in playgrounds. There are also foot-friendly tactile pavers, and an interactive wall organizes the space and provides a focal visual element. I like the fact that its top surface is smooth for climbing and sliding. The niches and cutouts make individual hide-outs as well as enabling simple games that improve fine motor skills like passing ropes through the holes.
Well done, Gudgudee! I’m always excited to see new design firms get into play, and I look forward to more interesting work from you.