Inspiration Blog
Where Art Meets Play: 8 fantastic playgrounds that double as art installations


Forget the drafty street corner  where kids are supposed to play on a boring teeter totter. Every city should take a page from the book of these amazing playground designs, where both children and adults can let their imagination run wild.  

These These Crooked Houses in Brumleby, Copenhagen are designed by Monstrum. This Danish design agency creates thematic playgrounds that fascinate and inspire both adults and children. Their works are based on visual arts and design and they aim to make playgrounds that can not only be climbed, ripped down or swung in, but can start the game by being a space where there is plenty of space for imagination.

Now this truly is where an art installation becomes playground, a specialty from Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich. His infamous ‘Swimming Pool’ at the Museum Voorlinden in The Netherlands fascinates both young and old.

This particularly gorgeous and death defying illusion is called Bâtiment.  It was shown in a group show in Paris in 2004. The façade was placed on the floor with a huge mirror positioned above it at a 45 degree angle. It’s not a playground, but definitely an art installation meant for play!

Playground is an adorable brass sculpture by artist Tom Otterness. It doubles as a jungle gym in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

Kraken is designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman within the eight legs and head of an octopus, a piece that is named after the mythological sea creature, despite its friendly appearance.

The octopus was designed alongside the team at UAP, which helped Hofman bring his imaginative work to life, and was commissioned by Vanke Group‘s One City development in the centre of Yantian, Shenzhen.

This breath-taking basketball court is actually a re-design from an earlier edition, that was mostly in primary colors. With support from sports brand Nike, creative directors Ill-Studio and fashion label Pigalle have redesigned the compact and irregularly shaped site, two years after they first enlived the place. Says the team: “Through this new court, we wish to explore the relationship between sport, art and culture and its emergence as a powerful socio-cultural indicator of a period in time.” (Through Dezeen)


Beds, chairs, benches, tables, fountain and car covered with 4103 square meters of tartane is a perfect city lounge to hang out and play! Designed by Austrian artist Pippilotti Rist and commissioned and produced by Schweizer Verband der Raiffeisenbanken and the City of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Japanese fiber artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam has created several playgrounds with her colorful crochet structures. The best-known one is in this Woods of Net pavilion at the Hakone Open Air Museum, west of Tokyo. She hand-knitted the climbing and swinging structures over the course of a year.

The City Museum in Saint Louis is undoubtedly the wildfest urban playground ever constructed. It is housed in a 600,000 square foot Shoe Company and is constructed out of found objects. There is a sky high jungle gym of two repurposed airplanes, several multi-floor slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel, ball pits, hundreds of tunnelse that go from floor to floor…need we go on? Go to This Is Colossal for more pictures of this impressive site.