Carve

Carve

Designers from Amsterdam, Netherlands
Carve is a design and engineering bureau that focuses on the planning and development of public space, particularly for use by children and young people. Our clients are local governments, developers, manufacturers of playground equipment, architects and landscape architects. The bureau was set up in 1997 by Elger Blitz and Mark van der Eng. Over the past nineteen years Carve has grown into a company within which several design disciplines meet, from industrial design to landscape architecture. We consider playgrounds an integral part of public space. We strive for playgrounds to be inviting places to be discovered; providing room for different groups and ages, and several forms of use. We want our playgrounds to be challenging and safe at the same time. Faced today with too many restricted area’s for kids only; facilities strictly focused on certain agegroups: filled in with prefabricated furniture, directive as well as limited in terms of use, Carve’s leading motive is to create space for play and to foster possibilities.

In our plans we incorporate intended and possible users and “playable” functions. In examining these possibilities we do look for the overlap in functions, through ages and user-groups. The outcome of this provides a firm basis. By playing out preconceptions about play and the strict ‘locating’ of different age-groups we like to keep some space free as well, to be filled in by the users. Similarities can enhance the playability for all groups and ages and the attractiveness of the place as a whole. A skate-course can indeed make a marvelous track for four-year-olds on their bikes on a Sunday morning. Just taking another timeslot. So instead of making use of archetypical playground-equipment, tending to be pretty directive on what to do and how to play, we prefer to work with more general objects, playable landscapes or multi-usable interventions.

Of course Carve does design from the perspective of certain age groups and functions, but is always striving to leave room for the initiative of users themselves and to facilitate the unexpected. To provide the playable foundation for kids to explore, where adults are un-childishly invited to participate, the playground can become a meeting place for the whole community. In the footsteps of and in the best Dutch tradition, as initiated by 20th century architect and urbanist Aldo van Eyck, although radically different in its urban positioning and implications, but sharing the focus on local initiative and community, far outstretching the relevance of space (to play) for children.

Playing can be the cheerful development of physical and social skills. In that sense ‘play’ is a necessity for children to grow up - but play isn’t limited to any age. Playfully preparing and mastering skills forms an argument for the mingling of different ages and groups, providing them with a space alongside each other - and to create their own community. Therefore we strive to combine groups in areas in a logical lay-out eluding strict borders, making ‘transition’ zones playable as well.