An industrial jungle gym

Rotterdam-based Studio Makkink & Bey fuse public and private outdoor furniture with their design of a one-of-a-kind industrial playground.

Studio Makkink & Bey reveal a new take on public furniture with their recent design of an industrial playground.

Dutch design studio Makkink & Bey, led by architect Rianne Makkink and designer Jurgen Bey, was asked by Ymere to develop a concept that would define the private spaces in the courtyards of Reimerswaal, a Mecanoo-designed housing development in the Netherlands.

The studio’s solution came in the form of a play sculpture and patterned courtyard fence that combine the private and public functions of street furniture.

The fence marks a transition between the private features that are typical for an enclosed yard and the public character of the space around it, say the designers.

Encouraging social interaction and community engagement, the jungle gym was designed to invite school children of nearby elementary schools to share the playful space with children who live in the housing complex. The children can easily slide back and forth over the borderline between private and public domain. By doing so, they playfully soften and smudge the boundaries of ownership.

The fences and sculptures show kinship with the architecture of the surrounding buildings, they form a family together. Individually, the railings each maintain their own character and depict their own story, while the almost cartoon-like line drawings in steel rods, used for the fence, create perspective and a spatial effect.