Playable Journey · Yoho
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Carolyn, Hon, Edbert, Ming, Yazh, Happy, Catherine, Hang, Ricci, Otto, with the support of Wai Kang
Located at the Yoho mall in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, a residential area where many young families reside, “playable art” was an interactive artwork that combines “arts”, “fun” and “community”.
LAAB believes that arts and architecture should not be something that are out of touch. With this principle, we created “Playable Arts” to enhance not only human interaction but also interaction between humans and arts as well. We also want to change the idea that “playing” is only for kids because adults too, deserve fun. As a result, we created a set of interactive artwork that invites “kidults” (i.e., adults and kids) to play with our artwork.
In this outdoor space, we used the architecture languages of dots, ovals, and spheres to create four pieces of playable art— “Color Circus”, “Flying Roof”, “Infinite Loop”, “Rocking Boom”
“Color Circus” was a “typographical space” created by four big letters Y, O, H, O. During the installation period, we saw kids and adults sitting on, crawling through, jumping up and down, the four letters.
“Flying Roof” was a set of “ball swings” under a colorful layer of canopies. The structural concept came from “swing dance.” Just like dancing legs, the structural poles were slanted, and the canopies above connected all the poles like joint hands. On breezy sunny days, the intersecting canopies projected a comfortable layer of shadow and moved as the swing moved.
“Infinite Loop” was a castle-like curved slide. The idea of a curve-shape slide came from neighborhood children who ran in endless circles around the playground. To enhance excitement, we widened the slide, added a small tunnel, and a child-friendly staircase. We also inserted climbing holes near the castle entrance so that “kidults” would have to climb up before they slide down. This design not only made sliding more fun, but also prevented congestion at the top. The lighting sphere served as a visible beacon. It also symbolized a full moon to celebrate mid-autumn festival when Playable Arts was first open.
“Rocking Boom” consisted of two pairs of cross-seating seesaw around a movable built-in maze board game. As one sat on the seesaw, the ping-pong ball inside the maze also changed its direction. The balancing force of four people on the seesaw would control direction of the ball, and with group efforts the ball could reach destination to complete the game.
As “kidults” played with our art installations, they also learned how to maneuver arts and become parts of the arts themselves. At such, arts are no longer static installations, but integrated into human lives as well.
We designed the four installations with parametric modelling software (Rhino and Grasshopper) to streamline the design process. We optimized the overall design for structural integrity, cost efficiency, and safety, while maintaining the original design intent to make things fun. For example, the structure of Flying Roof has been negotiated for safety, and the discs over the roof was generated after taking into consideration of fabrication cost and their effect under sunshine.