Today’s children are the adults of the near future, and giving them the experimental spaces they need to stimulate their imaginations could very well help us transform the world for the better. With “Landscape for Play,” London-based Aberrant Architecture inserts a colorful miniature city into the Matadero Madrid cultural center, inviting “spontaneous and unregulated play” inspired by the architectural language of great Dutch playground designer Aldo van Eyck, who designed and built more than 700 playgrounds throughout Holland.

"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.

The idea is to allow children to safely interact with urban environments on their own terms, giving them age-appropriate spaces adjacent to important cultural spaces for adults. Set within the Intermediae exhibition space, the leisure installation features bold geometric shapes in a rainbow of vivid hues that contrast with their industrial surroundings, which themselves are part of a reclaimed slaughterhouse complex.

But it’s not just for kids, explains Kevin Haley, co-founder of Aberrant Architecture. Adults can interact with it as well, helping their children explore, learn, and play as they go. The purpose of the space is to explore how art can help propose new models for inclusion and coexistence within cities.

"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.
"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.
"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.

“To the question of how we can transform the urban space through play, Aberrant Architecture replies with structures, shapes, and colors that invite children of all ages to use this new place in an imaginative way,” add the architects. “The resulting interior landscape is composed of follies, crevices, and different elevations which, although they make up a fantastic territory that can be used by the communities that come to Intermediae each day, don’t impose rigid restrictions in terms of how people must behave. This flexibility also means that the playground can be used as a setting for a range of activities during the months when it will be open.”

"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.

“This Playground continues Intermediae Matadero’s work on childhood through commissions to interdisciplinary artists to design spaces for play. With these Playgrounds, Intermediae Matadero highlights the need to dedicate more spaces for children in contemporary cities. Through commissions to international artists to imagine new places to play, Matadero Madrid also makes a unique statement for the right to also play within cultural institutions.”

The temporary installation will be open Tuesday through Sunday each week through September 22nd, 2019, when it will be replaced by a new experimental playground designed by Spanish artist Leonor Serrano Rivas. Intermediae, a program of Matadero Madrid Center for Contemporary Creation devoted to the production of trans-disciplinary artistic projects based on experimentation and shared learning, will also organize a seminar to discuss integrating such spaces for children into more cultural institutions around the world.

"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.
"Landscape for Play," an ultramodern playground located in the Matadero Madrid Cultural Center.

Founded by David Chambers and Kevin Haley, Aberrant Architecture is known for designing creative spaces for children, including a mobile playground and partnerships with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Landscape for Play is the latest in a string of cool modern play spaces for kids that place an emphasis on beautiful design, interactivity, and an adventurous spirit. For more examples, check out MAD’s Courtyard Kindergarten in Beijing and Nook Ballston, “a curated, gallery-like experience” made of natural birch wood with sensory-friendly details.