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Taking risks is part of fun in the playgrounds

A well-designed play area works for a variety of users. Playgrounds are more and more often a feature that contributes to the overall feel of an area.

“Playing is human nature. Wherever we are, we are always playing. Even as adults we take on roles and put on performances”, says urban playground designer Elger Blitz

Blitz is the founder of the Dutch landscape design company, Carve, which specialises in playgrounds. He is also the brains behind Lappset’s urban playground concept, Wall-Holla, which was born out of the need to get creative in a school playground.

“We had a very small space to work with and needed a solution that would allow a large number of children to play at the same time. The client wanted equipment for climbing, an area for running around as well as a football pitch. Wall-Holla was the answer that we came up with”, Blitz explains.

Wall-Holla in Krakow, Poland

Playing is all about experimentation

According to Blitz, the elements of play are the same everywhere, but they manifest themselves in different ways. 

“It is us adults who create the differences. Societies in different parts of the world see play differently. In Asia, for example, parents tend to be a lot more protective of their children than European parents.” 

Playgrounds are the solution in an urban environment. They provide a safe place for a large number of children to play and interact with each other. Safety is naturally important, but so is understanding the need to take risks. Playing is all about experimenting and learning by taking risks.

“Children learn by taking risks. They want to test their limits and feel that they have accomplished something. Playgrounds and playing must not be boring”, Blitz says.

It is us adults who create the differences. Societies in different parts of the world see play differently. - Elger Blitz

Catering to all kinds of users

Blitz always starts his designs from a clean slate. For him, it is important not to make assumptions about what the client wants, but to base every decision on the client’s actual needs, wishes and sources of inspiration.

“My background is in architecture, and I therefore get my ideas from my surroundings. I can find inspiration, for example, in the silhouette of a tree, a story that I am reading or the headlights of a car in a snowstorm. I collect pieces of information from around me and try to see things from a new perspective. Creativity is putting familiar things together in a new way”, Blitz explains.

It is also important for Blitz to design with all users in mind, which is why he designs not just for children but also their parents. He is looking forward to a future where playgrounds blend in seamlessly with the surrounding cityscape.  

“Playgrounds are an element of a greater whole. We want to design environments that everyone enjoys. Our designs must also appeal to adults, both aesthetically and from a functional point of view”, Blitz says.

Wall-Hollas around the world




Urban playground designer Elger Blitz from Carve is looking forward to a future where playgrounds blend in seamlessly with the surrounding cityscape.

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