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The design and renovation of the children's learning room was possible because of a design contest which IDSG won

Designing Great Learning Room for Kids

The design and renovation of the children’s learning room was possible because of a design contest which IDSG won. The design was based on what the child would like, having grown up in Singapore and loving the city, to tell other kids about it.

So we gave them an area which they could class as their own, but one that looks just like a typical street in Singapore. We included design elements such as traffic barriers and railings, covered with luminous flowers that grew up the wall at night when lit from below using solar panels. This created an exciting environment for our child visitors and made them feel welcome and at home, without scaring or confusing them by trying to make everything look too ‘educational’. It is a design which functions as a design should, it is visually effective and you never grow tired of looking at the design concept.

Another standout design was this installation using recycled plastic cable ties to create a web-like structure. The idea was to make children realise that no matter how minute they feel themselves to be sometimes, if they join together like these cable ties could (and often do), then nothing can hold them back and they can overcome anything that life throws in their path. It also made the kids believe that through working together with friends or classmates, even “problematic” school life is tolerable.

A design feature is the large letters spelling out words related to Singapore’s environment on one side of the room. This area was design to be a design for kids, not just a design by the children. It was art in its own right and it made the space feel even more like an adult working space than just a playroom. The children were asked to try and design their own letters and they could then use these on the design wall.

Like all good design, this design is quite simple but that takes nothing away from how effective it actually is. Most of the items for this learning room were found objects because we wanted the kids to get involved with recycling anything they might find at home or around them so they could better understand what “recycling” really means. We also kept everything brightly colored so that there was no need for any decorative features beyond what the design process itself offered.

This design shows a simple design that is very effective because it was designed with the target users in mind, not just as an afterthought or as a design on paper meant to look good as an adult design. A design like this one will always feel more inviting and less “institutional” than those who merely present information directly without taking into consideration the child’s own perspective.

The design elements had to be flexible enough so that adults and kids could use them and change them up depending on what they wanted to do, for example if they wanted to talk about recycling then we made sure all materials were there for them to do so. It also needed to create a sense of excitement and curiosity about learning among the children.

This design is very much in keeping with the design concept you might find at a design agency where for example, the design process would take into account every single visitor, not just one or two particular age groups who are considered to be their core target visitors.

The design and renovation of this learning room was made possible because of a design contest which IDSG won and it shows how design can really make learning among kids so much more interactive without scaring them away by trying too hard to “educate” them when they should be having fun and enjoying themselves. The design has many highlights but it all comes down to thinking about what would appeal most to our target users (in this case kids) and then designing something that would accommodate them without restricting design features which are strictly meant just for the design agency rather than the kids themselves.

Cloth, Stone


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