The Indigo Playgrounds are set within a public/private park space of Beijing’s Jiuxianqaio District. The playgrounds are entirely separated and designed for the needs of two very different age levels of children. The first playground appears as a perfect square set within the landscape. The square plan is carved into the earth framed by long wooden benches. This perimeter of parent seating creates a safe play zone for the little ones to run wild. To further enhance the sense of closure and protection, a tensile canopy of orange discs floats overhead. The discs cast a checkerboard of shadows across the soft play surfaces, cooling and shading the tots.
Project Name: Indigo Park Playgrounds
Location: 22 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Landscape Architect: Ballistic Architecture Machine (BAM)
Site Area: 1780 m2
Client: Swire and SinoOcean
Photographer: Jonathan Leijonhufvud
More adventurous children are welcomed further into the park to the ‘King of the Hill’ playground. Taking its namesake from the children’s game, a thrilling mountain occupies the center of the space. Arrays of pipes, climbing holds, and climbing ropes offer children a range of challenges to reach the coveted peak. A nest-like lookout on top of the peak is home to one Acer truncatum, the true king of this hill. Luxurious white marble slides offer summiteers an express routes down the mountain. Aside from the mountain the playground also includes islands featuring swings, spinners, and an additional climbing structure.
The Indigo Playgrounds project is wildly popular. Images of the packed playgrounds are often posted to social media with the tag ‘People Mountain, People Sea’ a Chinese idiom meaning people literally everywhere. Furthermore the playground has achieved what some consider the highest form of flattery: A facsimile of both Indigo Playgrounds has appeared elsewhere in China.