Playground Design Aspect of the Week: a Striking Style

The Orb-x climber is a great focal point because it is striking and memorable.

Your playground’s style is important. Will it be traditional, but unique? Is it going to register with your visitors as cutting-edge? Are you sure it will be effective in meeting your needs and the needs of your client, community, and patrons? To ensure that your playground is a success, make a point to not only look at the overall style of the playground, but look at making that style sound and striking. As a designer, you are going to know when it either works or doesn’t, but how are you going to set yourself up for success?

A striking style should have at least these three things: a focal point, fluid movement, and the basic fundamentals completely locked down. The focal point on a playground is its center piece. What on your design is going to resonate and stay with onlookers? Will it be the theme, a specific feature like the Orb-x Climber, or an aesthetic detail that no one could miss, even if they tried? If it stands out in a good way, it is going to work.

Fluidity in relation to movement most simply means, does the design flow and in a sense, does it match? When someone new to the park looks at the playground, they should be able to “get it” pretty easily. There shouldn’t be random blobs of equipment strewn about, but rather there should be a rhythm to how the layout is put together. The features could be ordered in levels by height or centered around the focal point… there are many ways of doing this, and it is usually obvious right away if the design has fluid movement.

Playground design fundamentals are easily recognizable by the experts and include factors such as accessibility, age appropriateness, and safety, among other things. When all of these are met with precision, the playground’s design will flourish. However, if a critical fundamental is left out, it will be fairly noticeable to everyone, especially to those who know what to look for. All and all, a striking style depends on many aspects, but it itself is the design aspect of the week.

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