Design for Play Without Rules
Under the looming impact of the persistent pandemic, we are more eager to relax than ever. The recent scenes of jam-packed country parks, hiking trails and islands during the holidays are evidence of that. Having long been undervalued in our work-intense society, play is in fact a powerful human behaviour we especially need in trying times to help us regain our well-being and rekindle our wonder of the world.
Design Spectrum's new exhibition PLAY LIVES, taking place at 7 Mallory Street until 30 April, takes us into the wonderland of design for play to explore how design has shaped contemporary play. Having chatted with its co-curator Rémi Leclerc and one of its workshop facilitators Kacama Design Lab in last issue, this time we will delve into its exciting commission work Rolling Fun – Community Playground created by Making on Loft, a local creative platform pioneering social design and research.
With the participation of the Wan Chai community, Rolling Fun – Community Playground is a play space without pre-set game rules which will be displayed from 31 March to 11 April. "It features two sets of installations made of tube- and wave-shaped modules, which can be reconfigured as the players wish or need. They can create new gameplay for themselves or with others at the Play Share Kiosk, where they can find a variety of surprising and stimulating objects," said a representative of Making on Loft.
Tube- and wave-shaped modules for the Rolling Fun – Community Playground
Most play facilities come with set rules and functions, so why do they leave those open for the players? "In our early design stage, we tried out our prototypes in the Wan Chai community. People coming to our installations always asked what the game rules are, and then felt at a loss. But that is exactly our message - you are the game master. The installation aims to stimulate players to experiment with the variability and malleability of objects and space, and break the limitations imposed on play."
The installation aims to stimulate players to experiment with the variability and malleability of objects and space, and break the limitations imposed on play.
Making on Loft has an impressive portfolio of design-driven community engagement. They saw the new value play can add to community projects. "Community engagement is a two-way exchange of consuming and constructing. Placing a play facility in a public space can stimulate the public to go beyond the predefined functions and limitations of the space and re-design it through inventive play. Play can also foster the relationships within a community. We hope it can enhance people's sense of belonging to Wan Chai, whether they live or just work there."
A variety of objects at the Play Share Kiosk stimulates people to create new gameplay
Play can also foster the relationships within a community. We hope it can enhance people's sense of belonging to Wan Chai.
To expand the possibilities of play, Making on Loft will also host a series of workshops at the play space. "The workshops are designed for people of different ages and preferences, with some being adrenaline-charged, and others being more relaxing. They cover a range of themes including yoga, control cars, balance bikes and games designed by primary students from multicultural backgrounds. All of them will make full use of the pipe- and wave-shaped modules so that participants can discover and experience the versatility of the installation and the space."
Want to break the mould and experience play anew? There are more at the PLAY LIVES exhibition to see, learn and experience. Check them out now at 7 Mallory Street and follow Design Spectrum's Facebook page and Instagram for updates!