18 March 2017

The Brutalist Playground

Vitra Design Museum, Weil/Rhein

– 30 April 2017



Brutalism is an architectural style of modernity based on the visibility of materials used. The name is derived from the French term “béton brut” [raw concrete]. The Vitra Design Museum is now extending the exhibition “The Brutalist Playground” until 30 April 2017, and in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), has recreated brutalist playgrounds for young and old alike.


Brutalist style was shaped in the 1950s by the British architect Alison Smithson and by an essay written by the architecture critic Reyner Banham. In post-war Great Britain, buildings made of raw materials and with an expressive language of design were constructed. Unconventional playgrounds built in large housing estates are characteristic of this period. The British architectural collective Assemble and the artist Simon Terrill used archive material from RIBA to make the original concepts of this architectural style spatially perceptible. The playgrounds, which might appear lifeless from today’s perspective, are transformed into play areas in pastel colours, and reproduced in synthetic foam. The idea is to give children and adults the opportunity to enter this landscape and “let loose” their imagination. The synthetic foam, which will wear and tear with time, also underscores the dilapidation of these unusual places, thereby providing a new, yet realistic view of brutalist architecture.


The exhibition is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. The regular entrance fee for the design museum is eleven euros.


Nº 274

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