Whether they are hiding and playing games or learning, chatting and relaxing, children and young people love exploring new places and interpreting them according to their mood. They are masters in the appropriation of space and experts in their surroundings. Berlin-based architecture firm Die Baupiloten works with this unfiltered knowledge. In an interview practice founder Susanne Hofmann explains how real-life architecture emerges from the discussion of atmospheric qualities and seemingly utopian wishful thinking and looks at what contributes to the success of participatory design processes (page 56). Integration and identification are key concepts in day care centres and schools. In addition to creative opportunities for development, current pedagogical approaches concentrate on promoting greater autonomy and the acquisition of social skills. The influence of these trends on interior design is the focus of this issue dedicated to the theme of ‘Playing and Learning’.
We take a look at the memorable colour scheme of a special school in Ghent (page 26), we show how a meandering shelf structure becomes an integral part of a Madrid language school’s spatial design (page 38) and we visit the play and learning environment of an Austrian kindergarten (page 32).