The times of playing on a fence under a block of flats are probably gone forever. Fortunately, the playgrounds being built today do not resemble those of yesteryear - their creators are increasingly reaching for less typical solutions, thus providing the youngest users of the space with places encouraging them to play and explore the surprises hidden in their nooks and crannies. Such a place is Gród Milusia in Sopot.
The playground was created in the Southern Park in Sopot
photo: Jakub Certowicz
Located in Sopot 's South Park, the playground is the result of a collaboration between the duo of architects from the BudCud studio - Agata Wozniczka and Mateusz Adamczyk - and designer Iza Rutkowska. It is part of the promotion of Janusz Christa's animated comic strip "Kajko i Kokosz" available on Netflix. What does the popular streaming platform have to do with shaping public spaces? It turns out that more than you might think - in Sopot, instead of another billboard, they decided to create Grodno Milusia - a playground inspired by the land of Mirmilov. Are such forms of promotion likely to become the new standard?
Agata Wozniczka and Mateusz Adamczyk from the BudCud studio talk about cooperation with Netflix, inspiration from Janusz Christa's works and what to pay attention to when creating playgrounds.
Ola Kloc: How did it come about that you started working with Netflix?
BudCud: Milusia's Castle came about as a result of a closed competition, in which several architectural studios involved in the design of public spaces took part. After a portfolio presentation, we invited artist Iza Rutkowska to work with us at the preliminary concept stage. Our project, selected by both the Investor and the City of Sopot - the Land Manager, was directed to implementation, and a fantastic team of producers worked to create a space for creative and safe fun.
We are proud to have created a project that provides added value in the promotion of animation for children, complementing the network of urban public spaces.
Ola: The playground is inspired by the "Kajko and Kokosz" comic book series, how did Janusz Christa 's work influence the shape of the project implemented in the city where the cartoonist spent more than 60 years?
BudCud: We are very pleased that instead of a monument or bench to the creator, the commemoration of Janusz Christa is a place that stimulates imagination, which formally refers to the aesthetics of Sopot.
Theplayground inspired by the animation "Kajko i Kokosz" allows us to move to the land of Mirmilow - the materials used, their color palette and simplified forms allude to the aesthetics created by Janusz Christa. We didn't want to simply decorate typical elements of the playground with graphics of Kajko, Kokosz and the dragon Milusia, so we designed spatial, authorial forms in which Christa's characters can be found. This design strategy allowed us to create a playground that develops the imagination and dexterity of the children playing in it. We also wanted to fit into the context of the historic South Park and relate the character of the project to the abstract sculptures in the city space, hence the very conscious work with the material and the unusual sculpting of the form.
The playground is inspired by the animation "Kajko and Kokosz"
photo: Jakub Certowicz
Ola: Milusia's Castle is a carefully thought-out adventure for the youngest, what does the path prepared by you look like? What does the playground surprise with?
BudCud: The arrangement of the playground follows a design rigor, where the basic building blocks of the space are wooden "myrmilla" logs. Stacked on top of each other, they build a "pixelated" dragon figure and other playground elements. Seats finished with cut logs are a witty reference to the comic call of the Hegemon: "By the slices!". Also, the wood-chip paving appears to be a pile of stripped beams, so that the architectural expression of the public space is commodified. The materials used can serve to educate the environment and strengthen the aesthetic awareness of the users of the square.
the basic building blocks of space are wooden "myrmilov" logs
photo: Jakub Certowicz
And what does the playground surprise with? Certainly by the multitude of ways you can play on it! Milusia's castle is a space of intuitive exploration. For example, the large dragon figure, on which you can play, run and climb in ways limited only by your imagination, has been supplemented with a variety of "standard" functionalities. Added sensory elements, rattles or the dragon's moving eyes allow you to invent more and more new ways to play in the Grotto of Milusia, while typical playground elements - a winding slide, rope tunnel or swing - introduce familiar elements in a non-obvious, surprising way, daring you to explore this public space.
materials used can serve environmental education and strengthen aesthetic awareness of users of the square
Ola: Tell us, please, more about the Friendship Kaleidoscope.
BudCud: The Friendship Kaleidoscope is a simple device that multiplies our friend standing at its end. Reflecting both the surroundings and the playmate, the Friendship Kaleidoscope allows you to take a commemorative photo, with its composition and fever of colors reflecting the experience of playing in the Milusia's Grotto.
Ola: Playgrounds are increasingly going beyond the typical forms and shapes, which are not always friendly to the youngest. What do you think is worth paying attention to when designing such spaces?
BudCud: It's worth designing a playground that you yourself would like to play in when you are a child.... Limiting the use of typical play equipment or predictable, infantile aesthetics will make play spaces unique, contextualized and imaginative. It's also a good idea to consult standards for playground design - you can find practical guidelines to ensure the safety and inclusivity of the space.
Milusia's castle is a space for intuitive exploration
Ola: Thank you for the interview.