Nature meets nurture at this Brooklyn indoor playground

We pay a visit to Children’s Playspace, an innovative indoor playground in Brooklyn courtesy of New York City-based architectural and design studio Architensions

Cloud-like forms made from slatted white foam are suspended from the ceiling above the playroom.
(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

Facilitating child’s play and learning indoors continues to be a hot and murky topic in the United States these days, but an innovative, indoor playground, located in Brooklyn, New York, offers a hint of what waits on the other side, should the city’s sustained recovery from the pandemic continues to be kept under control.

Designed by the New York and Rome-based architecture practice Architensions, and completed just before the Big Apple went into lockdown, the eye-catching playspace brings together elevated design references with an understanding of children’s psychology and socialising, which reflects its proprietor’s background in childcare and yoga.  

The stylish indoor environment was designed to facilitate creative, collective play for small groups of children. While its framework of wooden grids and embedded geometric shapes might seem abstract, Architensions actually looked to several aspects of the natural world in creating an interior landscape that would enhance a child’s experience.

Large circular shaped green wooden seating tower

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

‘We wanted to create a space to promote equality for every child using the space, so we imagined a forest as that outdoor environment where playability is not standardized but can always change,’ explains the studio’s co-principal Alessandro Orsini. ‘We translated it through a series of Euclidian shapes, each acting as part of the setting to help the users' cognitive development.’

Nick Roseboro, Architensions’ fellow co-principal, adds, ‘We did not look necessarily into the conventional playground, but our reference was more related to the social aspect of play. We started to look into Aldo Van Eyck’s playgrounds in Amsterdam built after the Second World War as a series of urban rooms, but also Isamu Noguchi’s ‘Contoured Playground’ playscapes with their distinctive elements that allow the visitors to physically interact with art.’

The playground’s series of structures each creates a different sensory effect, whether it’s hiding inside a washi paper-covered form, resembling an igloo, and experiencing lighting that resembles the effect of falling snow, or climbing up into a 8-foot-tall green cylindrical ‘treehouse’ and peering out through a green mesh fabric that evokes leaves. A semicircular tunnel with geometric cut-out windows painted in bright hues rises up from the ground with shallow steps, while cloud-like forms made from slatted white foam are suspended from the ceiling above.

All materials have been chosen with the young visitors’ well-being in mind – plywood is sanded and clear stained, all painted used is non-VOC natural stain and the floor is covered in soft tan rubber, to cushion any falls. An opening date will be set in due course once social distancing measures can be effectively put into place.

View looking down the length of playroom from circular seating area to curved playhouse.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

A long sweeping curved playhouse made from plywood with different coloured windows in geometric shapes.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

Looking through a circular window to the orange interior of a playhouse.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

View looking up from green seating area to white cloud-like structures suspended from the ceiling.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

Shimmering silver curtains hang from ceiling to floor at the side of the playhouse tunnel, painted in yellow and orange.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)

View through a green window frame to the interior of a playhouse made from plywood and featuring geometric shapes.

(Image credit: Cameron Blaylock)


Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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