Playtime is abstracted with The Brutalist Playground installation, which opens at the Architecture Gallery at RIBA this week in London. Designed by Turner prize nominee artist collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill, the playground was inspired by the simplistic concrete playgrounds that were once popular in the post-war housing of the 1950s. Although painted in soft colors and cast from a softer material than concrete (foam), The Brutalist Playground reminds parents how the standards for children’s play has evolved over the last 65 years.
The Brutalist Playground takes over the Architecture Gallery, creating a landscape of simplistic architectural forms that stretch from one end of the gallery to the other. Forms like cubes for sitting, trapezoids that slope into slides, tilted circles for spinning and expansive rows for running are modernized with friendly paint-splattered coloring, in contrast to the minimalist concrete of the past.
The structural pieces were inspired and derived from RIBA’s extensive archive of photographs and architectural plans of post-war architecture from the 1950s. These playgrounds explored a design movement that did not focus on safety, but instead daring conceptual and surrealist ideas- without outright concern for the children playing on the hard concrete structures. Recast in kid-friendly foam, the iconic shapes of these designs are paid tribute to, without the concern of being unsafe.
On display until August 16th, the The Brutalist Playground may be exhibited in a gallery, but it is also open for play.