It seems kids aren’t quite as ‘un-cool’ as we previously thought. Turns out they’re not so crazy over primary colours and cartoon characters after all. Taking these new learnings on board, Shanghai-based architecture practice
Instead of employing the simple theory that spaces saturated in colour are what children gravitate towards, Wutopia Lab’s lead architect, Yu Ting, discovered upon further investigation that children are stimulated by spatial variation, exploration of different locations and following clues. He removed the overwhelming application of simplistic colour and instead decided to use colour based on specific thematic purposes to engage the children.
Inside Aranya, Wutopia’s minimalist signature is evident. Combined with their ground-breaking innovation into children’s design, the end result is, dare one say it, terribly adult. But don’t be mistaken, this is not a joyless space or one lacking in vitality or interaction. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It’s a space that is full of all the elements that delight design-enthusiasts and children alike; it has texture, layers, intrigue and the ever sought after, unfolding journey.
Yu Ting started from the outside, wrapping the exterior in polycarbonate panels. The panels covered the original Art Deco and ‘Prairie Villa’ style exterior, thereby creating a contemporary translucent
Entering the building on the ground floor the starry ceiling above creates the ultimate backdrop for a children’s playground. Using PVC hollow balls, glass fibre cloth, marine plastic balls, artificial stone and floor glue, Wutopia Lab have created a realm unlike any playground.
This place is not called Polycarbonate Neverland for nothing. Polycarbonate is used extensively throughout the project. The glorious dining room, resplendent in white, is sheathed in its panelling. The interior is layered with circular rings made of vertical white PVC piping. The piping surrounds the space and encourages the interplay between what is seen and unseen, filling the sky above are white
This children’s restaurant also has a pink memory bathroom, a sea sound bathroom, a mirror pool, a stainless steel slide, a bubble tree, and a mysterious book area. These elements are all hidden in corners awaiting the natural curiosity of the children to uncover them. It’s hard to imagine there’s much time for eating at all. Frankly, who could be bothered with eating when there’s so much else to do!
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