“When junk isn’t junk: materiality, loose parts and junkyard play spaces”

04 jun 2018 kl. 10:00 - 14:00

Designskolen Kolding, Ågade 10, 6000 Kolding

Join us for an exploration of the relationship between materials and play, when we turn the Design School Kolding into a pop-up junkyard playground for a day.

After having all but disappeared, "junkyard" and "adventure" playgrounds are now coming back around the world. It seems we are just drawn towards these messy and magical spaces, full of materials, "loose parts", inviting children and adults alike to engage in creative, open-ended play that is unpredictable, fun and - sometimes - even more than a little risky.

Inspired by this movement, we wish to investigate the role of materials in designing for play and creating good, deep, diverse play experiences everywhere: from playgrounds to board rooms, from streets to classrooms.

In play, nothing is junk, but every little piece of material is an opportunity and an invitation to play. If we have enough “loose parts” or “variables” - materials with no single predetermined use - everything is possible:

In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it (Nicholson, 1971)

How does different materials inspire different forms of play? What happens when we get our hands on tangible materials with different weight, texture, color and maybe even smell? How does a piece of fabric, old electronics or raw wood make us feel? When does materials become rocket fuel for our imagination?

Through talks, conversations, reflection, tinkering and PLAY we’ll explore these and any other questions that emerge. This is a space for curiosity and experimentation, for serious silliness and for a shared investigation. None of us knows everything, but together, we might be pretty smart. These events are only possible because we collaborate, help each other out and all take responsibility for making this a friendly, playful experience for everyone.


9.00-10.00: Arrival, coffee and Play Expo. The "Design for Play" MA students at Design School Kolding have designed a series of playful prototypes, and now invite you to learn more about these and try them out for yourself over a cup of coffee.

10.00-10.30: Welcome & play activity - by Helle Marie Skovbjerg, Ann Charlotte Thorsted and Mathias Poulsen (who have made a play club they invite you to join)

10.30-10.50: Talk: “The meaning of materials” - by Anete Strand, Aalborg University: "How can research traditions such as “Speculative Design” and “New Materialism” inspire and inform our shared efforts to help play thrive? What is the meaning that emerges in the meeting between us and the materials we use? This talk explores the relationship between what we as humans want to do - maybe we want to play? - and what certain materials with certain traits may invite us to do.”

10.50-11.10: Talk: “Design and the importance of materials” - by Pia Schytz, Design School Kolding: "Materials are an essential piece in the design process that inspires, makes us sense and gives us obstructions. Doing is thinking when it comes to develop meaningful design for the future and materials often lead the way to creativity if we let it."

11.10-11.30: Reflection and discussion

11.30-11.45: Introduction to the junkyard play challenge - by Mathias Poulsen, CounterPlay

11.45-12.30: Building monuments of junk

12.30-13.00: Lunch (building continues)

13.00-13.30: Presentations & Play Test

13.30-14.00: Wrapping up and planning next seminar

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