That quote, from educator Steven W. Anderson, is one I often share with others. It perfectly captures how I feel about my two-decade career collaborating with talented Playworld colleagues to create innovative, imaginative play structures.
I recently had the honor of representing the company, along with CPO Michael Laris, at the Industrial Designers Society of America’s (IDSA) 2016 International Conference in Detroit. One of our latest play structures, PlayForm 7, was named a silver winner in the environment category of the International Design Excellence Awards® (IDEA®).
PlayForm 7 is a true original. Marrying art and adventure, my vision for the piece was to create a “landscape of play” based on the seven landforms of earth: valleys, plateaus, mountains, plains, hills, loess and glaciers. It was also my hope that PlayForm 7 would invite users of all ages and abilities to come together and experience a new way of thinking about play.
The idea was to initiate multiple play experiences – tactile, sensory and motion – while incorporating innovative materials. The result: an inclusive, engaging environment that invites users to be social, creative and playful with each other, something our society needs now more than ever.
It took a large Playworld team, including designers Gabriela Diego, Aida Abolahrar, Greg Scott and Michael, to bring PlayForm 7 to life. So, to see our efforts rewarded with the IDEA award is tremendously gratifying.
No other organization creatively impacts me like IDSA does. Their events are a great way to connect with designers from around the world, as the energy is always innovative and optimistic. I suggest that all designers experience it.
While the IDSA conference always leaves me feeling energized and focused, and being internationally recognized for my work is extremely rewarding, those sensations are ancillary to what really provides me the most gratification: seeing others interact with and enjoy my work.
Ask any designer who helped create one of the more than 1,700 projects from over 30 countries that were submitted to IDEA, and I bet all would agree that nothing is more breathtaking than seeing their work interact with the broader world. Whether it’s an architectural improvement, a medical technology, a consumer product or any type of design, the joy of inventing is in the aftermath. For me, seeing people discover, engage and explore on PlayForm7 is the best reward.