Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2018
East End Foundation
Foam Brothers Inc.
Elegant Upholstery Services
Playshapes is a set of extra large building shapes for kids to construct their own imaginative playspaces. The playshapes were custom designed from foam and covered in water resistant material to create playshapes for outdoor use. The colors of the foam are correlated to an award-winning pinata sculpture that's well known in the neighborhood. The shapes vary in size with some shapes created at different scales so that they can nest, stack, and connect to one another. The shapes include a house, a sawtooth, a ramp, a wedge, a half donut, a pyramid, a cube, a column, and a wedge.
This project is funded by a grant from the Kaboom Foundation as part of the Play Everywhere Challenge and produced in partnership with the East End Foundation. We collaborated with the community by bringing a prototype of the shapes to a market day and observing how kids interacted with the set of shapes. Based on our observations, we scaled up some pieces and provided larger quantities of the most popular shapes.
Playshapes was a success because it transformed an underutilized space on the Esplanade for kids to play at the weekly farmer's market in Houston's East End neighborhood.