The Discovery Slides are designed and engineered by Carve in the Netherlands and built by Playpoint in Singapore. In 2015 Carve and Playpoint won a tender for an adventurous sliding attraction inside the Jewel Changi Airport development, designed by Moshe Safdie Architects. The attraction is located in the Canopy Park on the highest level of the new development, which includes a shopping mall, attraction park and a garden, all in front of Terminal 1. In this canopied park, more than 1400 trees and palms will be housed alongside many other attractions. Creating the ultimate airport experience, and convincing travellers to go through Singapore’s Changi airport instead of others.
Project Name: The Discovery Slides
Studio Name: Carve
Design: 2015 – 2019
Completion: April 2019
Client: Jewel Changi Airport Group
Location: Canopy Park at Jewel Changi International Airport, Singapore, level 5 Size discovery slides: 18×16,7×7,5 metres
Carve team: Elger Blitz, Lucas Beukers, Mark van der Eng, Jasper van der Schaaf, Hannah Schubert, Thomas Tiel Groenestege, Marleen Beek, Elke Krausmann, Henry Roberts, Gaia Glereani
– 311 square meter of sculpted polished stainless steel
– total of 70 tonnes of which 50 tonnes of stainless steel
– fully integrated A/C system to provide better climate while playing
Photocredits: Playpoint (SINGAPORE) Pte Ltd
In Carve’s original concept, the playground was designed like a sculpture resembling a gemstone; with parts that are carved out – the slides, stairs and rope climbs – revealing the coloured interior of the gem. In this way the playground presents itself in duality; a gem balancing on the fifth ring of Jewel with a slide attraction hidden inside.
At first the sinuous shell was designed with mirror tiling over the whole structure. During the design process with the client this manifested as a continuous and seamless polished steel skin wrapping around the three cones holding up the large access platform. A shiny jewel in the green forest valley of the park. It is an object that will attract people from afar. The shell, with its liquid mercury form directs and accentuates focus on its surroundings and visitors can experience infinite and surreal reflections of themselves. The rubber patterning on the floor was even designed to create a spiraling abstract reflection in the shell of the playground.
The viewing deck of the playground will be the highest accessible point in the complex, giving a fantastic view of the entire interior of the airport terminal. Naturally this will make the playsculpture a crowdpleaser and social media magnet, but it will also invite and attract children of all ages and families for adventure and play. Going up and down the challenging slides, this “WOW” experience of sliding through the cones and landing at the bottom will make visitors come back time and time again.
The bright yellow inside of the playsculpture contains four slides; A family slide, a steep drop slide and two glass-covered spiral slides coming down from the highest point. The Discovery Slides structure has a complete double curved steel surface. Curved glass was used as balustrades, in the viewing floor, as spiralslide covers and on the double curved lid of the highest cone. Fibre optic lights were integrated in the rubberized floor surrounding the structure, point lights in the highest cone and LED strips on the perimeter of the curved glass balustrade. Air-conditioning was also integrated into the sculpture’s viewing deck to provide a comfortable temperature when children are playing on the slides directly under the building’s roof.
The Discovery Slides playground spans over 18 metres by 16.7 metres in length and stands at 7.5 metres high at the highest point of the platform. Built and produced in three different parts of the world it is indeed a very complex and unique play sculpture. From concept design to realisation, the project took over two years to complete.
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
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 the 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 layout eluding strict borders, making ‘transition’ zones playable as well.