Our interactive, child-centred installation ‘Landscape for Play’ landed with a bang in Matadero, an arts centre in Madrid in 2019. Over five summer months, our designed landscape dedicated to fun took over their Intermediae exhibition space to create an adaptable, exciting playground for spontaneous and unregulated play. It was the second in Matadero’s Intermediae Playgrounds series; artist-commissioned projects that seek to give a new role to children in cultural institutions.
Imagining a new leisure space and experience for boys and girls, we proposed the creation of an installation devoted to free play, inspired by the architectural language of the great Dutch playground designer Aldo van Eyck (1918–99).
Our playground was based on architectural structures from the locality, shifting shapes from the surrounding Spanish capital into an interior space. We transformed the exhibition hall with structures, shapes and colours to invite children of all ages to use this new place in an imaginative way. The resulting playful landscape was composed of follies, crevices and different elevations with no rigid restrictions or prescriptive uses; a landscape where children and their imaginations could run wild.
The varying geometrical shapes and colourful graphic floor pattern created a stimulating terrain for the children, parents and carers who come to Intermediae each day, offering a playground not just for kids, but adults too, who inhabited the spaces, created games and interacted with their children in a safe but dynamic area. As one local parent said, “‘Landscape for Play’ is… very colourful and very fun. [Our children] didn’t stop running, jumping, crawling and climbing!”
The flexibility of the design, with its ramps, cylinders, stairs and blocks, meant the playground could also act as a setting for a range of activities such as talks or concerts.
With Intermediae Playgrounds, Intermediae Matadero highlights the need to create more spaces dedicated to children in contemporary cities and makes a unique statement for the right for children to play within cultural institutions.
“David and Kevin immediately understood what we were trying to do at Intermediae-Matadero and were a delight to work with. During the opening weekend there were queues of children impatiently waiting to jump on the playground. It was an absolute success!”
Emma Braso, Former Head of Content, Intermediate-Matadero, Madrid
Intermediæ, Matadero Madrid