Shanghai – When a space is said to be user-friendly, the assumption is, almost always, that those users are adults. But tapping into how children behave in spaces is valuable for informing projects too, especially in the realm of institutional design. That’s why, while developing the interiors for Shanghai kindergarten Avenue Green Sheshan, Elto Consultancy tried to think as young students would.
Activating a sense of spatial curiosity and creating a ‘second home’ for the children was paramount, according to the consultancy. Different zones accommodate different activities; the driving purpose of the 6,100-sq-m architectural terrain is to foster interaction and exploration. One expression of this intention is a silver slide that students can whizz down together after a learning day is done, into a waiting area for parents. Elsewhere, there’s a mezzanine with climbing nets and, in a large recreational area, small huts that children can climb into to rest or read.
Although Avenue Green Sheshan has no shortage of playful built-in features and spots for tots to stretch their legs, it’s visually palatable for grown-ups, too. The designers used light-coloured wood as part of a generally pale palette, steering clear of loud, distracting details. For the learning spaces, where natural light flows in freely, customized furniture accords with the heights of children of different group levels. And yes: sockets and switches are kept well out of reach.
A representative from Elto explains the heart behind the work: ‘We believe that when human beings interact in a creative environment, it will help to induce and cultivate emotional intelligence and mutual growth.’