Architect David Rockwell has designed playgrounds for grownups, including the Nobu restaurants, W Hotels, the Mohegan Sun casino and the JetBlue terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York. Now, he's designing playgrounds for kids, and that could be a good sponsorhip opportunity for you or your corporation. The founder of the Rockwell Group explains.
Tell us about your Imagination Playground?
I have a 6 year old and an 8 year old. They teach me about play, and about challenging limits. For the 23 years that I have been in business, we've been creating playgrounds for adults - restaurants, hotels, theaters. So now we're creating playgrounds for kids.
We're partnered with Darell Hammond, the founder of KaBOOM!, the not-for-profit that is building playgrounds around the country. KaBOOM! has the goal of providing every child in America with a playground within walking distance of his or her home or school.
So we've designed a playground in a box. It's totally portable.
Why make a playground portable?
I'm a designer who believes you can make a difference in the world through ideas. This playground is intended to let kids play in a way that encourages creativity. This will create more creative people. Kids have a chance to work together. And with KaBOOM! we want to make it as accessible as possible.
It's really a movable piece, like a pop-up playground. You can add it to an existing playground or a school. They come in different sizes. It's very flexible.
The first one will open in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on July 8. Then we hope to spread out into the rest of New York City. And eventually all over the country.
And the playgrounds have loose parts?
Yes, we've worked very hard to create a play experience that truly inspires imagination. The kids love the loose parts. It does require someone to manage the parts each day, to gather them up and secure them.
Where does your funding come from?
KaBOOM! relied on investors to do the first playground. Now it's a chance for corporations to sponsor the ongoing project. We donate our services and raise the money for the management of the loose parts. KaBOOM! is an advocacy group, they don't really make anything. All royalty streams go back to fund more playgrounds. It's a not-for-profit endeavor.