Inaba Williams designs colourful playroom for Tribeca's Cast Iron House

Architecture studio Inaba Williams creates colourful architecture for children's playroom within New York's Cast Iron House by Shigeru Ban

Colourful playroom with large scale furniture in red, blue and white.
(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)

Inaba Williams has composed a children's playroom in New York City, drawing on colourful architecture and abstracted, geometric shapes. The new space is located within Cast Iron House, the minimalist luxury condominium building in Tribeca. 

The recent move that saw many of us switching to working from home has only highlighted the need for more and better spaces for children to play, argues the practice's co-founder Jeffrey Inaba. Designing places to foster human connection is key, in and outside a pandemic. Responding to this, the architects created a minimalist, yet highly efficient and varied interior to support both the children's but also their parents' needs within a domestic environment. 

Playroom spaces flow into one another with walls accentuated in different colours of blue and white.

(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)

‘One answer is a small gathering spot for focused time with a few people,' says Inaba. ‘That’s how our recently completed Playroom is used. Toddlers crawl around while parents exchange advice. Kids have playdates. Tweens meet to work on school assignments. A parent and child enjoy one-to-one time.'

The design appears simple but is created with great attention to detail. Specifications feature product by suppliers such as Spinneybeck Leather, Louis Poulsen and Fitzfelt. Spanning some 60 sq m, the interior occupies a floorplan that is subdivided into zones' by the use of block colours. There's an area for remote learning and a part where abstracted structures create tunnels and configurations that encourage gross motor skill development play. Storage and seating nooks are also included.

‘A space for people to connect can be created anywhere there’s a little bit of room,' adds Inaba. ‘In this case, it’s located in a leftover area on the common level of a renovated multi-unit building. Residents are able to get out of their apartments during bouts of cabin fever without leaving the quarantine bubble of their home.' 

Young girl walks through playroom with bold colours of blue and yellow.

(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)

A playroom with vivid blue walls, a TV screen and a wall recess in vivid orange.

(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)

A large rectangular wall recess in vivid orange against a white wall.

(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)

A brightly lit cloakroom area with white walls, white cubby holes and coat pegs.

(Image credit: NAHO KUBOTA)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from