Dezeen Magazine

Minimalist animal sculptures by Luca Boscardin form children's playground equipment

Toy designer Luca Boscardin has transformed his colourful line drawings of wild animals into abstract life-sized steel versions for a public playground in Amsterdam.

Called Animal Factory, the project includes four sculptures made of metal tubes that are shaped like a giraffe, a crocodile, a gorilla and a wolf.

Animal Factory by Luca Boscardin
The playground features life-sized sculptures of wild animals

Each steel sculpture is designed to echo the life-sized proportions of the animal that they represent, and is painted in a single bold colour.

The outdoor playground is located at the city's NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard on the banks of the River IJ that has developed into one of Amsterdam's cultural hotspots.

Four animals are included in the playground
A few simple lines and the colour green create an abstract crocodile

"The idea behind the project was to create a bridge between fantasy and reality, natural and industrial," Boscardin told Dezeen.

"While from a certain angle the steel constructions do not seem to have specific shapes, when looking from another place the contours of, for example, a gorilla, are clearly visible. In this way, the animals form surprises in the industrial landscape," continued the designer.

Boscardin's project is the winner of the NDSM Open Call, an annual competition that invites creatives to submit a proposal for a public art project to be displayed on the wharf.

Animal Factory aims to be a versatile and interactive installation, which can be used not only as climbing frames for children, but also as an alternative place for adults to exercise or store their bikes.

Boscardin stands next to a life-size giraffe sculpture
All of the animals are painted in bright colours, like this yellow giraffe

Boscardin's initial design process began with sketching out a collection of colourful animals in minimal lines, which were then translated into sculptures with the assistance of steel carpenter Iwan Snel.

The toy designer explained that the way children communicate in simple universal signs and their ability to let their imaginations run wild have influenced much of his playful work.

The project is in Amsterdam
Children and adults alike are invited to interact with the Animal Factory sculptures, including the pink wolf

"All children know that a red car is a Ferrari or a stick in your hand is a sword," said Boscardin, an Italian toy designer and illustrator based in Amsterdam.  "In the same way, a few simple and tall yellow lines are a giraffe, and a green animal with a big mouth is a crocodile."

Playgrounds are ideal projects for designers to be fun and imaginative. Others that have recently completed include a sky-blue collection of repurposed wave breakers in New York's Jamestown, and a minimal playground built to encourage tactile exploration in Changzhou, China.

The photography is by Tim Stet.

More images and plans

Animal Factory sketches
Animal Factory preliminary sketches