Rethinking Playgrounds

Web applications and video games have redefined what it means to “play” for our youth. In most parts of the world, as access to electronic devices become more and more common place, children are becoming increasingly sedentary.

A group of playground manufacturers, Lappset, from  Northern Finnish Lapland set out to redefine what it means to “Play”. Their underlying philosophy is that play should be active, it should include people of all ages, and that playgrounds do not need to be filled with equipment in order to be fun.

“We want play to be present everywhere. We believe that play should the right for all age groups. We do not like playgrounds to be filled with equipment. We want to be pat of making the surroundings more play friendly for any users. We believe that by doing so, everyone will benefit. Because the concept of play makes people of all ages feel better, hence healthier and more satisfied with their lives. We also believe that it is unnecessary to build walls/borders between playing and learning. Effective learning combines the mind and the body. Play provides joy and happiness – it relaxes, teaches, and moves us all.”

Recently, Lappset set forth a competition that would challenge designers to think about the future of playgrounds that fit within their philosophy. The first prize winner was  “Green Hill” by Tengiz Alaverdashvili of Tbilisi, Georgia.


The aim of this proposal is to create a universal space where all the three generations would feel comfortable. It should be a place that everyone will like, space where they can communicate with each other. Where one can play and have fun and the other one can just relax, watch others play and even join them. Project consists of three conceptual elements: “Green hill”, “Circular stair-bench” and “Street lamp forest“.

Green hill – You can walk around it, climb over, lie on top, and just feel the nature. Nature is the place where everyone of every age feels comfortable, relaxed, healthy, joyful etc. This proposal offers everybody the opportunity to get closer to nature.

Circular stair-bench – It goes around the hill and consists of concrete structure and modular wooden elements. While older people can sit on it, younger ones can lie on it and kids can even climb, run , and jump on the stairs.

Street lamp forest – It serves for lighting, but also it is used a part of a playground. Random arrangement of posts imitates trees in the forest. Kids can run between these metal trees trying to catch each other, young couples can lean against the post to give each other a kiss on a romantic night under the soft lightning of the street lamp.

Green Hill Playground can be used successfully during all seasons of the year.

Images courtesy of Lappset