Studio STRRR to restyle playground in shopping mall “Koningshoek”
The popular shopping mall Koningshoek in Maassluis has asked Studio STRRR to revamp its indoor play area. Studio STRRR has created the concept “Speelkade” that will reflect the areas past heritage within the play area and at the same time also create a pleasant social meeting place for parents.
A renewal of greenery, decorations and shopping mall seating are also part of the project, adding extra comfort to the Koningshoek shopping experience.
“De Speelkade” – Play platform – Play ribbon – Crane Light – old Maassluis photographs
I studied at the Art Academy in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Since the birth of my children, I started thinking about developing toys for children. I was annoyed regarding PVC indoor playgrounds and its ball boxes. It was only meant for children, parents were eating chips in a plastic chair.
In 2005 I came up with design play blocks, in a system of 12 blocks, enlarged to lightweight mega blocks. Our daughter, Pine at the time two years old, was able to stack, build and play with it. Then I started design Studio Papas together with Marjan Verboeket. We came up with interior concepts and products for children and families.
In 2011 we decided to go our own way. I started Stoerrr. Initially, I mainly designed and made furniture myself. The hotel sector was enthusiastic about the play blocks and as a result of that we got requests to deliver the play blocks for their kids play areas. The first hotel we designed the interior was blooming hotel in Bergen. They wanted to convert a fitness room into a playroom. That was a very successful challenge.
Later that year I ran into an old acquaintance, Carl Mills, with a background in marketing and working as a copywriter / storyteller. We followed each other on facebook. He saw what I was doing, became enthusiastic and we decided to work together. Carl has an English background, which made us think internationally and we also received more and more requests from abroad through our website. The first international application was for a resort from the Maldives. We went looking for products for their indoor kids club for this customer. Carl and I both worked from home. As a result, my garage was full of stuff, Kids products, that had to go to the Maldives, which was then picked up with a sea container to be transported via Rotterdam to the port in Male. Our first international assignment finalised successful!
We thought of a strong fundament of our work should be based on stories and therefore we started with storytelling and concept development. Working from the concept towards a design for family spaces in hotels. Looking at indoor and outdoor hotel play areas in a different way from creativity and sustainability point of view. This turned out to be a gap in the market! We now work for exclusive hotels, including Marriott International, St. Regis, Regent Hotels & Resorts. We are currently developing a indoor and outdoor strategic plan for an High-end Eco Wellness Resort in Portugal, among others. We also develop a family concept (indoor as well as outdoor) for JW Marriott worldwide.
We have been moved to Microlab since November 2019. This suits us very well! Even during Corona crisis, I preferred to be at the office. There was hardly anyone. I often take the stairs to floor six. My aim is to play more, also for adults. This gave me the idea to convert an elevator shaft into a climbing tower.
Call! We would like to start an innovation group leisure & hospitality within Microlab for companies with the target group families. We want to brainstorm in a broad way about developing new concepts, products and services for the family leisure & hospitality market.
Who dares to take the elevator with us? Come to floor 6, at the back right corner, or send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Team Stoerrr Koen & Carl
Visiting Office at Microlab Studio Stoerrr Floor 6 Kastanjelaan 400 5616 LZ Eindhoven The Netherlands
What has the impact been of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector, regarding Family holidays and Kids Play environments?
At this moment a lot of territories are still on lockdown and the travel sector is no longer enjoying the massive global success it once was used to. People are uncertain of safety issues and are therefore preferring to limit their travel to local destinations, rather than going on long haul holidays. Whether this will be the new norm is yet to be seen, but for now the new norm will bring many changes with it.
This new norm means we do not welcome each other by shaking hands. Social distancing is also forcing us to maintain a distance between strangers or friends we haven’t seen for a long time. We are now looking for new ways to stay safe and avoid being infected or infecting others. In certain countries face masks are obligatory in public spaces and hygiene levels have become a hot topic everywhere. With all these restrictions and uncertainties, the hospitality sector now faces many challenges to ensure its customers that a safe and care free holiday is still possible.
When it comes to families with children, there are some practical steps that can be taken to ensure that resorts can offer their guests a safer and more relaxing holiday. Obviously hygiene needs to be looked at closely in all areas where parents interact with children and other adults, but the actual play areas themselves can be made safer by simply introducing a few elements, such as better ventilation, more touch free entertainment products, more intensive and regular cleaning and smart design of interiors to help maintain social distancing rules. Outdoor play should be encouraged whenever possible and interaction with nature introduced as a stress relieving measure in these tense and difficult times.
Outdoor play As research now shows that the corona virus is less likely to be transmitted in the open air, let children play more outdoors. These play areas should be designed to allow for fun activities outside even in less perfect weather conditions, by using elements such as play pavilions & tree huts. If outdoor play is not possible, bring nature inside by creating a real biophilic environment indoors. As the well- being of both children and adults is dramatically improved with regular contact with nature, they should be more connected to nature both outdoors as well as indoors. When weather conditions force families and children to spend more time at resorts indoors, we should create a nature inspired, natural environment with real (not fake) plants & vegetation. A biophilic design approach should be incorporated. When playing outdoors or when social interaction takes place in an outdoor environment, make sure that children and parents are really connected to the nature surrounding them both in body and mind. Do this through a combination of a well thought out entertainment activities programme and intelligent design of areas to facilitate these activities. Holidays should be fun and relaxing, so create an environment where people can fully enjoy the moment and forget their everyday worries. Play can have a key role in developing happy and healthy people.
Interaction with nature to create a stronger body and mind Let children and their parents connect with nature more closely by introducing activities in the entertainment programmes at resorts which allows them to get their hands dirty by playing with natural materials, such as sand, water, wood, plants and mud. This will not only teach children more about what nature means to us and how important its maintenance is, but these simple activities also actually help reduce daily stress greatly and boost both mental and physical immunity levels.
How we need to rethink the indoor and outdoor Kids & Family Club.
Use smart design to create larger distances between groups of people indoors. Furniture & fixture designs for play spaces for children and family interaction areas should take social distancing measurements into account. Maintenance will become more important now due to increased cleaning requirements. Circular, eco and sustainable materials should be incorporated in the design.
When there is limited indoor play space create reservable play time slots so that there are fewer people in any given space at any one time.
Introduce more touch free play such as augmented reality products.
Increase hygiene levels in play areas with more regular cleaning of touch screen & play units.
Introduce better ventilation systems to limit the impact of Covid-19. An increase of more natural fresh air can contribute greatly to a safer indoor play environment.
Families & kids should recreate more outdoors and outdoor play areas should be designed to allow for fun activities outside even if weather conditions are not at their best, by using elements such as play pavilions & tree huts.
Create healthy entertainment programmes which encourage plenty of playful exercise and educate about healthy eating to help prevent obesity amongst children (and adults.)
Include stress relieving activities such as meditation and yoga to counteract any anxiety created by Covid-19.
The new norm created by covid-19 will pose many challenges for the hospitality sector, but with some simple steps, smart design and a lot of flexible thinking we can overcome these issues and continue to provide families with children with safe and enjoyable play spaces and family interaction areas at resorts worldwide.
3 Elements that Create Loyal Kids; Capturing the Traveling Family!
Exclusive Feature: The Market: The family travel market is booming; In fact it’s the fastest growing niche in the leisure market and with over 115 million holidays a year involving kids it’s also one that cannot be ignored by the hotel industry.
But today’s Parents are spoiled for choice by an overwhelming abundance of child friendly hotels and resorts with animation teams to take care of the kids.
So how do they make up their minds where to stay?
A major factor in their decision as to where they stay can be determined by their perception of the quality of the Kids Club within the hotel.
The standards that they demand are high. The Kids Clubs must be safe, entertaining, stimulating and also recognize the wishes of the modern parent. With worldwide obesity figures amongst children on the rise, the food provided must be healthy, nutritious and yet appealing to kids.
Parents want to pick up energy spent happy contented kids who have had the time of their lives.
The new breed
The new breed of Kids Clubs have recognised that a lick of bright paint and some toys and cushions will no longer cut the mustard. They combine cool design with a well thought- out pedagogical philosophy and play based learning programs1 to make sure that they are not just a place of fun and entertainment, but are an intelligent, healthy and stimulating environment where children can get the exercise and mental stimulation they need to trigger successful growth.
When it comes to the activities organised by the Kids Clubs, traditional arts and crafts are no longer enough to satisfy the new generation of eager learning kids.
Hotels are implementing highly creative and educational programs2, from The Waldorf Astoria’s Gladiator training in Rome, to The Ritz Carlton’s Ocean Futures Society, designed by Jean-Michel Cousteau to create awareness amongst children for environmental issues.
The 3 elements of the Kids club
The Kids Clubs of the future are stylishly designed based on Storytelling with a link to nature and with careful planning going into lighting, climate control and air quality. They are a perfect balance between fun and education.
By focussing on 3 key elements, exercise (indoor as well as outdoor), innovation and healthy eating, they not only make a child fitter and smarter but by stimulating both the body and brain actually make them happier.3
Happy children make for happy families and create a better customer experience all round that can dramatically increase the % of return customers in the travelling family segment.
When combined with an effective strategy for family rooms and child friendly dining schemes , the Kids Club can become a powerful tool to help hotels win ground in the ever growing travelling family market.
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from stoerrr.com is not permitted.
About the Author: Carl Mills is head of marketing at Stoerrr, A Dutch Design company for the next generation that develops advanced kids solutions for the leisure Industry, such as Kids Clubs and Family Room entertainment for hotels.
Studio Stoerrr is a design studio with many years of experience in concept & design development. The company started their innovations for kids by using a combination of skill, knowledge and the amazing learning curve of kids themselves.
Stoerrr is proud Partner of Mocinno International, the Hospitality Management company www.mocinno.com