Thursday June 13th, 2024
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Designed for Fun: Kuwait’s Wonderkin Kids Playroom by Manmade Studio

This edutainment space was designed to spark joy, with acoustic panels disguised as waves, and miniature kid-sized buildings.

Karim Abdullatif

Designed for Fun: Kuwait’s Wonderkin Kids Playroom by Manmade Studio

For playrooms and kindergartens to be as cute as they can be, they have to follow some well-aged design principles. Kuwait-based Manmade Studio put these principles to work, using a thoughtful design approach to create Wonderkin, a kids ‘edutainment’ playroom in Kuwait City where toddlers and preteens get to learn and play in a space designed for… well, fun.

“Wonderkin sits within an outdoor complex of shops and cafes intended for young adults and parents, therefore an elegant but fun look was intended for the facade design while the interior has a soft aesthetic centred around a ‘colourful Nordic’ theme,” Jassim Alnashmi, Founder of Manmade, tells SceneHome.

From pastel leathers to natural wooden furniture and toys, the 180 sqm playroom pops with colour and style, with a reception where kids drop off their bags and take off their shoes before walking in to play.

A waiting area allows parents to keep a good eye on their little ones who, once they enter, can go up the ‘softplay jungle’, ride the slides or crawl on the rope-net bridge to the other side of the playroom and go down the other slide into a ball pit. In short, all functions were created for one main goal: joy.

“The activity areas were divided by mini-buildings with mini-brick facades and shingled roofs where kids can play-act as shoppers, baristas, firemen, or craftsmen,” Alnashmi continues. Given the space’s realistic approach, with a hint of a cartoonish feel, the playroom presents itself as a whole pretend neighbourhood.

To ensure safety, all surfaces in the ‘softplay jungle’ were padded with soft leather cushioned surfaces, from steel bars to concrete columns, floorings and railings, with a soft antibacterial cork flooring. Fibreglass slides were custom-designed by Manmade Studio and built in Abu Dhabi to ensure colour coordination with the rest of the interior.

“The facade includes two main elements which were branded; the logo, and the fluffy character, Woohoo, which is the main playful element to outsiders that says this a kids play area,” Alnashmi explains. “The base of the facade is curved sand-lime brick which is a modest blend between the building’s brick and the soft, playful interior.”

Cuteness aside, the project presented difficulties to Manmade Studio, as the owner had acquired the space prior to contacting the designers. Therefore, the design was squeezed with many elements such as the construction of the slides and the sourcing of cork flooring which had to be done in parallel and in advance.

The softplay jungle was a steel frame structure that was constructed with wooden platforms and leather padding, the biggest construction challenge was the hanging bridge which needed site-specific structural design.

All carpentry elements used white-washed oak wood veneer. The bathroom was a custom-built orange Corian sink and the high level of the walls was clad with acoustic fabric panels disguised as waves.

Material Credits:

Fiberglass slides: Urban Play, Abu Dhabi

Sand-lime brick: National Industries, Kuwait

Branding: Perfect Design Firm

Design Team: Shenouda Talat, Ertugrul Yilmaz, Zamir Rira

Fitout Contractor: Jiroun

Photography Credit: Mohammad Taqi Ashkanani

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