The Playground

Architensions, The Playground

This by That matched design and research office Architensions with their client, Goldenvoice, to realize The Playground, an installation for The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2022. Augmenting the festival-goers’ experience, the project infuses color, light and meaning, and a unique sense of place and discovery into the Empire Polo Club over two weekends from April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022.

The Playground consists of four steel-framed towers ranging in height from 42' to 56', like modular scaffolds holding shapes of various forms and materiality. The Playground uses magenta and yellow for the vertical grid and cyan for the piazza, colors derived from spectrum of the dichroic film used for the cladding of some of the shapes, while others are painted in solid colors chosen from the associated adjacencies of the three colors, resulting in an intentionally vibrant color experience.

The Playground takes its inspiration from Constant Nieuwenhuys’s New Babylon, a city of improvisation, chances, and play as a critical alternative to the burdens imposed by production. The shapes themselves refer to urban typologies for leisure such as piazzas, theaters, parks, and arcades, albeit vertically arranged within a porous grid that gives an order to the landscape of different shapes. The design evokes a familiar urban landscape, where the significance of play is reverted to its original definition of free personal time, in other words, a playground. Similar to Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, the grids create a new common ground, an open space that opposes the isolation and homogeneity of technologically mediated experiences.

Says Orsini, "In an analogy with Aldo Rossi's 'Il teatro del Mondo,' The Playground creates an environment similar to a theater, in which people can interact in a sort of performance. It provides an opportunity to experience a leisure space without the use of technology, simply by interacting with the space and its materiality. The user is at the same time a spectator and performer."