The owners of a Montessori kindergarten in Taipei had one goal in mind: to create a space where children could develop independently. JJstudio, the design firm they hired to bring this concept to life, had another: to overturn any preconception of what this space could look like.

Their research showed that pre-schools in the city turned to colours to delineate the areas meant for children. Instead, the team decided to desaturate the environment, in order to transmit the idea of belonging through the use of material and scale.

For example, the soft rubber floors indicate to tiny students that they can act confidently and explore around. The large floor-to-ceiling windows provide good lighting, so that the tots can experience both the changing of the seasons and the street scenes that surround them. The height of the ceiling, then, creates a sense of spaciousness, so the little explorers can develop as freely as possible.

The world of children is simple, and anything can be a playground at any time

One of the key decisions to ensure this freedom was in the layout: the play area acts out as a large space, where children of different ages can interact without limitations. The kitchen, resting room and toilets are all housed to one side, so ‘business’ and leisure can physically and mentally exist as separate worlds for the kids. ‘That’s because the world of children is simple, and anything can be a playground at any time’, the team reckoned.