The natural playground “Marching Trees” is inspired by the works of Russian avant-gardists.The main characters of this project are trees of natural unaltered geometry with preserved branches and twigs. Here one of the principles of The Chekharda Bureau was implemented: we don’t give the material a desired shape but we strive to notice the beauty in nature and find the right place for it on the site.
The site is located in the natural reserve of Serebryany Bor, on the bank of Moscow river, next to the boat station. The main task set by the client was to make a natural playground for families with children coming to the beach or to a nearby cafe. The main requirement was to fit the site into the natural surroundings, and an additional request was to use the theme of art.
The Chekharda Bureau is not limited to a brief but brings additional value and its own vision to each project. When we came to the site for the first time, we saw a very beautiful place with an old playground. The place was a dead end, and people didn’t use to come here on purpose. We decided to make the new site so attractive that families with children would come here intentionally. To create a point of attraction that is in harmony with the surroundings – this was the main challenge for the Bureau. At the same time, we wanted to create an artistic playground that would inspire people to see the beauty in nature and in art, to appreciate and admire them.
The idea and the solution
To fit into the surroundings, to make the point of attraction, to use the motives of art – given to these inputs the idea of an artistic natural playground inspired by the works of avant-garde artists was born.
Representatives of this trend in art were committed to the idea of simple forms and their location in space and relative to each other.
In plan, the playground Marching Trees resembles the famous compositions of Kandinsky and Malevich: a straight line of a climbing tunnel on tree supports crosses a perfect circle of wooden flooring. In volume, this layout gives a bold and vivid image of the bizarre multi-legged forest dwellers walking through the site which seems to invite visitors to the world of fantasy and art.
To create the main playing structure, we used trees of unaltered geometry, with preserved branches. Direct expressive vectors of play elements and intricate trees of natural shape complement each other, forming a harmonious combination of simple and complex. On the other hand, there is a contradiction, a contrast of straight and sinuous, of bright red and noble wood color, of cold metal and warm wood. It turns out to be bold and audacious but that’s exactly what Chekharda likes to do.
We added the color to strengthen the image. Usually we do not paint wood, as for metal, we use colors very selectively and carefully. Here we painted two pillars of the playing element in red color that was the main one for the avant-gardists. It catches attention and cries: “Hurry up here! Play!”
Why did the trees become marching? People come to the river bank and to the playground along the path from the park, and we wanted to continue this movement. “Marching trees” are beautiful trees of unaltered geometry. When turned upside down, their branches look like legs, and thanks to these legs, it seems that the trees are marching. The effect is enhanced by one tree stepping outside the circular deck, as if it decided to run to the water faster than the others.
The playground is located on the beach, under a huge tree with spreading branches. This demanded a very delicate and careful attitude to the surroundings. In order for the site to be perfectly fitted into the landscape and become part of it, we very carefully chose an orientation and location of the playing elements, we paid attention to views from the site and how the playgrounds looks from different points of view.
We included a spreading tree in the composition of the playground. In summer, it gives green background and shade, protects from the sun. In winter, it becomes a walking tree itself.
As a play space, the playground contains areas for toddlers and schoolchildren. Natural raw textures compensate the lack of contact with nature. Non-standardized elements stimulate imagination and free play, encourage children to make unusual movements, so necessary for brain development. Adults like the neutral design of the playground, so not only parents with children come here but also athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
Materials and technologies
As it was mentioned earlier, we used oak trees of unaltered geometry, with preserved branches. We always follow the material: the curvature of the trunk, the curves of the branches, the gnarled surface. We take a tree, turn it differently and see how it combines with other elements. We try to imagine how the tree will look on the site & to find the place where its beauty, its naturalness will look most advantageous, where it will become a piece of art.
We evaluate the tree even when it grows in the forest plot, conduct a special survey and calculations to make sure that the tree is absolutely suitable for the future design. Only if this is the case, we make a careful excavation. Thanks to this, we manage the natural resource as responsibly as possible.
Project location: Park Serebryany Bor, Beach#2, Moscow, Russian Federation
Design year: 2019
Year Built: 2019