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Shanghai’s 100architects animates a drab plaza with Red Planet playground, a vibrant landscape for kids.

One of the latest interventions by 100architects of Shanghai has its users seeing red – in a good way. An open-air crimson swath covering 245 square metres of an otherwise grey retail plaza, the Red Planet playground, as the architects have called it, is located in one of their home city’s biggest shopping centres.

Designed to attract customers to the mall and to foster interaction among those who use it, the permanent installation features organized spaces for a variety of activities atop a vibrant patch of PVC sport flooring. One end of the playground is defined by a running track. The other side contains a “bubbling” basketball court dotted with mounds that even the smallest children can climb, sit on and slide down.

A pair of umbrellas cap the site’s largest mound, which houses grey metal tiers for climbing and sitting. The PVC sport flooring on which the playground sits was chosen for its softness and durability.

According to the architects, who specialize in street architecture and once covered Mexico City’s main plaza with a giant, Mayan-inspired painting, many children have been using the playspace “in ways we did not imagine at first,” creating their own games among the hillocks and pyramids.

A running track serves as a border for one side of the site; it weaves around chalkboard pyramids. Existing street furniture, such as an arch partially wrapped in red metal, was co-opted by the installation, adding to its surreality.

Those pyramids, made of wood and steel, are clad with chalkboard, allowing kids to use them as drawing surfaces. Other features include whimsical slanted umbrellas and benches for parents. Strategically placed LEDs illuminate the site, which, if a YouTube video showing children of all ages delighting in the project is any indication, has given the plaza new life.

This story was taken from the June 2018 issue of Azure. Buy a copy of the issue here, or subscribe here.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.