A kindergarten play area shaped like a mountain surrounded by clouds has been completed by Japanese firm Moriyuki Ochiai Architects (+ slideshow).
Part of Piccolino Kindergarten in the southern Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa, the space was created primarily for art education and as a multi-purpose room for concerts, performances, exhibitions and children's workshops.
Children can explore by crawling over and around the brightly coloured wooden seats and through archways and small passages. When seats are pushed against the mountain they form steps, allowing children to clamber up the mountain shape through the clouds.
The seats are also light enough to be picked up and stacked on top of or next to each other, creating new heights and spaces in the room.
Architect Moriyuki Ochiai said he chose the triangular shapes because they were the most simple and suitable for children to use safely. "The size of the equipment is a unit on which two little children can be seated together so they feel close to each other and can naturally be friends," Ochiai told Dezeen.
Ochiai also explained that the height difference between adults and children brings about different ways to perceive and enjoy the environment. "A surface used as a counter by adults appears as a consecutive arch over houses to children," he said.
"From a kid's perspective, the mountain rises from the clouds changing gradually from white to brown, while adults looking down from the top of the mountain see clouds floating below," he added.
Ochiai said he created the space to develop imagination, expression, communication and creativity skills for both adults and children. The renovated 90-square-metre floor space from an existing office building is in an area with lots of new housing projects where many families with young children live.
Other kindergartens featured on Dezeen include a kid university with a courtyard of mulberry trees in Spain, a small wooden nursery in a public garden in Camden and a doughnut-shaped kindergarten in China.
Photography is by Atsushi Ishisda/Nacasa & Partners.
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories