Nubo, Alexandria

Designed by: PAL Design Group
For client: Little Seashell Pty Ltd Floor area: 768.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: Learning Space of the Year

01 Nubo
© Michelle Young

Embodying the overarching concept of 'pure play', the open and flexible architecture in fluid contours invites children inside this two-storey play house to freely exercise their imagination and engage in dialogues among themselves and their surrounding spaces.

About the Project

Nested within a three-storey space in Sydney’s Alexandria, Nubo is carefully designed for children aged from 0 to 10 - a stimulating and inclusive learning environment to encourage boundless imagination. With its name suggesting a tribute to clouds, Nubo is indeed designed for 'pure play', freedom and creativity. Children are invited to free their imagination and learn from nature at their own pace.

The challenge is to strip away the playcentre cliché and focus on an uncomplicated space that allows for communication and growth between families, a space supporting family interaction through early learning. To generate an environment where children are respected yet always stimulated, meanwhile encouraging parents to engage and interact with them during that process.

What’s unique about it

The overall design takes a minimalist approach to remove unnecessary decoration - with just enough for the children to invent their own games. Soft lighting, natural materials, neutral palettes and curves help to create a safe, calm but boundless environment for children to explore.

Nubo’s holistic approach boasts a range of elements and tools to nurture healthy minds, bodies and spirits. Features include a library designed as a landscape weaved around a giant hot air balloon where kids can curl up to read their favourite books; a building room full of Big Blue Blocks, MagFormers and Kaleido Gears; a zone for active play including an architecture for play where kids can slide, climb and hide; the Café with an emphasis on healthy eating, a range of classrooms for children’s master classes including cooking, art, music, coding and facilitated play sessions.

The space encourages children to explore the tangible world in a feast of sights and sounds - even hand-washing can be a fun learning checkpoint in an adorable octopus-themed washroom. Beyond the campus, the children take home useful lessons and great fun, they can fully indulge in their insatiable curiosity and channel their energy into all sorts of activities in a safe, inclusive and creative environment.

02 Nubo
© Michelle Young

Sculpted in a free-form landscape to facilitate different heights, children can come on their own or in groups to read at different corners and manners. In addition to its mini stage created for story telling in an open area, there are also reading pods available where kids can curl up to read their favourite books.

03 Nubo
© Amy Piddington

'Pure play' here is meant for group learning, as children learns to learn with and from companions, for which this safe and cosy playground without barrier is an ideal hub for creative ideas and fun.

04 Nubo
© Michelle Young

A well-lit, barrier-free open area with a petite café invites parents to stay behind, relax and enjoy quality family time together – and with plenty of interactions.

05 Nubo
© Amy Piddington

A communal kitchen doubles as a classroom for children to get introduced to ideas to stay healthy and learn safely about food processing. It also conveniently comes with a mini bar right next to a cooking station for adult chefs, further completed by balloon-shaped ceiling lamps above.

06 Nubo
© Amy Piddington

The indoor playground with slide and café are meant to welcome kids in different weathers, while its proximity to the open façade neatly formed by glass walls also allow ample sunlight to pour in, simulating a natural environment as an extension to the park outside.

07 Nubo
© Amy Piddington

A two-storey castle comprised of playrooms not only allow physical exploration, but also intellectual ones such as art and music, facilitated by carved-out areas perfect for workshops and different kind of activities.

08 Nubo
© Amy Piddington

Classroom furniture is fitted in kids’ proportions in each learning areas, including this multi-purpose room. In a simply yet smart pastel palette of white and blue, reminiscent of the cloud-gazing philosophy at NUBO, 'pure play' here is unrestricted and enables children to learn at own pace from nature.

09 Nubo
© Michelle Young

In addition to efficient shelf organisations and convenient drawing tables on wheels, flexibility is maximised in this art room for kids to literally think outside of the box and carry out different types of activities - plus generous white walls left for presenting children's masterpieces.

10 Nubo
© Michelle Young

Going the extra mile in designing a washroom for kids, the design team imbues fun details into an otherwise unnoticed area. Simple hygiene process here can offer fun and lessons on self-care, again by integrating play into everyday life.

Credits:
Forbo Flooring Systems

Synthetic Grass& Rubber Surfaces Australia PTY Ltd

Brokis

Imagination playground

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