A playground in a daycare centre, Berlin, 2016

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“Matrjoschka” is a bilingual daycare centre in Berlin. It is named after the traditional Russian matryoshka wooden doll. The old yard of the kindergarten was plain and boring. Therefore I was commissioned to design the idea for the playground. After the reconstruction has been finished, the new playground was solemnly opened for children on May 27, 2016.

My concept of the courtyard’s design utilizes the concept of matryoshka itself. The traditional doll is in fact several dolls of descending size, one hidden within the other, with the smallest in the heart of them all. The outline of the concentric paths of the yard repeats the doll’s shape. In the heart of the playground I put a sculpture in the round: a big stone resembling the matryoshka in shape with the round eyes and smiling mouth but without traditional Russian ornaments. The stone sculpture is multifunctional and incorporates few minor installations: kids can climb it, explore it, sit on it, can use the steps or slides on its sides. They can turn the stone into a ship and raise a mast with a flag on its upper deck. They can also discover that the stone looks like the head of a huge dragon or dinosaur, or of a hippo. In summer flowers can grow in the “pockets” of the sculpture and in winter it is possible to mount a Christmas tree on the top of the rock.

The rock has been produced from the reinforced concrete. The ground around it was floored with special rubber tiles to make the playground safer. There is a swing, sandboxes, and other playground equipment in the yard. Certain deviations have been made to the original plan in the course of construction. However, the concept persisted.

Concept and design: Alexander Reichstein
Producer: Mitra GmbH
Manufactured by Betondesign, Kolkwitz

Address: Kita Matrjoschka, Heckelberger Ring 3 13055 Berlin