Play Contract – Billund, Denmark

  • Location: Denmark
  • Solution: Buildings
  • Type: Urbanism, environment and public areas, Art, culture and sports
  • Architecture: KWY.studio
  • Client: SUPERFLEX
  • Scope: Foundations and structures
  • Project: 2021
  • Photography: Torben Eskerod
  • Contractor: Dimpomar

Play Contract – Billund, Denmark

  • Location: Denmark
  • Solution: Buildings
  • Type: Urbanism, environment and public areas, Art, culture and sports
  • Architecture: KWY.studio
  • Client: SUPERFLEX
  • Scope: Foundations and structures
  • Project: 2021
  • Photography: Torben Eskerod
  • Contractor: Dimpomar

Playgrounds are meant to stimulate play, but most are designed and built based on grown-ups’ notions of children and how they should behave. With Play Contract, the balance of power is tipped, and now it’s the children’s turn to devise a playful space for themselves and grown-ups. What kinds of play equipment should be in such a playground? What kind of playground would they like to have when they grow up?

A group of 122 children in Billund, Denmark was given 100,000 pink LEGO bricks, which they used to design models for playgrounds. These models were then analyzed by size, layout, and the kind of physical activity they encourage. This information was synthesized into five final designs, which were then constructed in pink marble. The result is a collage of adventurous ideas and whimsical shapes that have been transformed into Play Contract. Here, grown-ups can climb, crawl, jump, and run without inhibitions. They can let go of grown-up concerns. At the same time, the artwork can also be a site of repose and conversation, a forum to rethink and redefine the idea of play.

Informed by the children’s thoughts about play, a contract was prepared and carved into the sculptures. It functions as a set of universal rules for how to play within the work. Within Play Contract, the grown-ups must agree to embrace their sense of the absurd and to abide by children’s sense of time. Clocks have no power: time is flexible and deadlines are meaningless. Games last as long as they should. Acknowledging the artistic agency of children, Play Contract was designed based on their ideas and viewpoints. With curiosity and creativity, the children have explored what it means to be a playful grown-up, and how a playground can be designed to invite everyone to play.

SUPERFLEX with KWY.studio (Ricardo Gomes with Inês Barros, Sara Cálem, Filipa Crujo, Luise Marter, Ali Talaat, Allegra Zanirato and Dario Zimmitti) and 121 children from Billund
Engineering: Betar
Fabrication: Dimpomar
Consultants: Revitiles
Landscape: Baldios
Installation: Kaj Bech
Lights: As A Ceremony

This text was extracted from the original on the website www.k-w-y.org
15 October 2021, CoC, Billund, Denmark

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