Sunday, 18 May 2014



P L A Y F U L N E S S    P E R S O N I F I E D
Text: Hina Nitesh

If I said crochet and playgrounds in the same breath, I would probably get a blank expression from you. 

But just keep this is mind while I take you back to the time in design school when one of the creativity exercises involved magnifying and minimizing elements around us in order to find a hidden pattern and then applying it to a practical product. The results were amazing and till date I feel it is the best way to find a design solution. It is a great way to nurture the left side of the brain. 

Image - www.mnm.com



Image - www.crochetconcupiscence.com

Now coming back to my opening sentence and linking it with the design exercise and I have for you a craft form that had been adopted similarly in a very ingenious way. Crochet is a knitting process that involves a small hook like needle that helps in knotting the thread to make a mesh pattern.



Image - www.mnm.com

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, a Japanese textile designer knots the threads but only to end in creating play areas for children. It all started with a sculpture that she had knitted and exhibited in an art gallery. This attracted the children and they started playing in it – after all it all about perception and perspectives.

 
Image - www.huffingtonpost.com

From here on there was no looking back. Toshiko had always looked at ways in which her work could add value and these children had helped her discover that. She started knitting large crochet structures to be used as play spaces for children.


Image - www.play-scapes.com

Toshiko along with her husband Charles MacAdam established Interplay Design and Manufacturing Inc in Canada to develop and manufacture these crochet sculptures for play areas. These brightly coloured structures are a big hit with the children. 

Image - www.crochetconcupiscence.com

Complete with voids, loops and gently curving surfaces these structures do not have a fixed algorithm for playing. It is probably because of the encouragement that children get to discover their own way of playing and also bring their imagination into play. 
 
Image - www.afflante.com

To add to this is the fact that these structures are absolutely safe – the fibres stretch and are strong enough to accommodate a large gang of kids. Norihide Imagawa, a prominent structural designer from Japan engineers each project ensuring the safety of the sculpture.

Image - www.afflante.com
 
Image - www.babyology.com

Toshiko has come a long way since her first project in 1979 but the concept continues to enthrall children even today.


Image - www.afflante.com


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