Children at a Japanese nursery can run through the sky and take a nap among the clouds after their parents drop them off for the day. Architect Junya Ishigami has designed the Cloud Garden Daycare, inside a high-rise in Atsugi, Japan, to resemble a sky filled with fluffy clouds. "I like to look at the clouds," explained Ishigami. "Clouds change their form at will, with a certain rationality. Moreover, they are all white and fluffy, having both a sense of unity and some consistency. And they are vast."
Though the clouds at the daycare don’t literally change shape, the space seems to change as visitors move through it, seeing the curved shapes from different perspectives. There are low archways under which only small children will fit and also expansive areas that seem large even to an adult. The cloud-like curves of the walls soften the original space, which was 23,000 square feet of open floor, punctuated by square concrete columns and exposed mechanical services overhead.
Each cloud wall, which stretches between two of the large columns, has a different shape and each allows either for passage underneath or open space above. Some walls are solid while others feature round windows which frame views of the neighbouring rooms.
The overall effect is a playful yet functional space where children feel welcome to run and play. “Lightly dividing the space with the roundness of the soft cloud-shaped wall gives it the required functions and atmosphere, creating a playground at the same time,” Ishigami said.
Images via Edmund Sumner