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The Pedestal of Play

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Superkilen, Copenhagen

In a world as grand and complex as ours, it is easy to forget the value of play. Playing becomes the thing that kids do and adults are left with the boring minutia of the day. Companies like Facebook and Google have only recently reminded us that the activity is for adults too. A monumental move, this is about monumental play.

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Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Teens like to play. They like playgrounds, but they aren’t welcome. The only time you’re allowed back into the sacred ground is in the presence of a child. If child is absent, you’re a rebellious teen up to no good. If you’re an adult, it’s creepy. What happens when this boundary, this border, is blurred? When the art of play, is an art for everyone.

Red sculptures in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz beg to be climbed and photographed. Superkilen park by BIG in Copenhagen is a soup bowl of unique playground structures. Unlike a museum, here you can touch, you are welcome to the art, you are the art.

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Østre Anlæg, Copenhagen

Two swings in Copenhagen’s Østre Anlæg Park stand as monument. Their presence on a plinth gives their activity presence and prestige. As a twenty-something, I feel welcome to the swings. They are larger than me, but they are larger than everyone. No one “fits” the scale, but the scale fits everyone.

The wonder of children is their happiness and creativity, unfazed and untouched by the evils of the world. Adults see this as time passed, but that optimism has simply been been covered, not erased. These structures remind us, that we are not so different than kids – we too get excited at the sight of a swing – and these spaces serve as a reminder to take moments to enjoy ourselves.

All images by Nicole Stankus

Nicole Stankus finds herself an architecture student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her interests lie past academia, expanding the idea of an architecture of buildings to include the architecture of society and people. How people interact with the city they live in is of particular interest to her and her writing. Seeing the world passionately and always seeking moments of urban ecstasy, Nicole looks to highlight the magical moments of great cities.

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