WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES MONSTRUM via thisiscolossal.com
Copenhagen-based MONSTRUM designs artistic playgrounds that captivate kids and adults alike. Think: art meets accessible design meets imaginative habits in animal-inspired conceptions of places for play.
A dramatically-tentacled octopus stretches across the tarmac, two towering herons and a long-nosed paddlefish stand amidst reeds that make the perfect place to disappear during a game of tag and a brown bear lifts a log down which little bottoms slide.
With each new project, MONSTRUM continues to impress with its ecology-inspired arrangements of creatures both land and sea. Often stretching into the clouds, the architectural animals rest on stone and painted ground coverings, their bellies and limbs made hollow for climbing ropes, tunnels and slides that meander along tentacle or fin.
Led by designers Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen, MONSTRUM is a team of more than 60 designers, engineers and craftspeople with accessibility front of mind. The Land of River Giants in Tulsa, Oklahoma – comprising the two herons and the long-nosed paddlefish mentioned earlier – is just one example of MONSTRUM’s increased focus on accessibility for all ages and abilities, with the fish’s mouth serving as a low, gaping entrance for smaller children and an almost four-metre high slide descending from the birds for older kids. Additional elements like climbing areas and hide-and-seek-worthy rushes surround the monumental animals.
Love these designs? Explore a map of the playgrounds and check out other designs on the studio’s site.