We are moving away from designated play areas to transforming entire towns into playable space. Traditional playgrounds are being redesigned as multigenerational; houses conceived as living adventure games; and the mundane act of waiting for the bus re-imagined as a swing ride.
To promote the film Coraline, 50 boxes of curious objects were mysteriously circulated to various bloggers – film props as marketing. Film characters and otherworldly themes were also graffitied on real-world walls, while one-off semi-personalised notes, buttons and keys appeared in shops and hung from abandoned buildings, just waiting to be discovered.
Meanwhile, the highly evolved Coraline website was designed as a secret map of the movie, complete with surreptitiously embedded content. A cult following was built up around charting the discovery of the objects, and unlocking the clues and secrets hidden in the website.
Interior architect Eric Clough transformed a New York apartment into a living adventure game, known as ‘Mystery on 5th Avenue‘. The home is embedded with riddles, ciphers and furniture with hidden compartments. It even has its own accompanying book and musical score.
The world’s largest crossword puzzle has been created on the side of a residential block in the Ukraine. By day, the puzzle is empty, but at night special lights make the words in the puzzle visible. The questions for puzzle are hidden in interest spots throughout city. Tourists and residents have been gathering outside the tower block every night to see if their answers are correct.
Playgrounds and daycare centres are being redesigned for young and old alike, driven by the converging needs of an ageing population.
Play is increasingly considered a social and economic utility.