Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Designed to inspire the imagination of children’s dreams.
The Kooky Cubby explores the potential relationship between the freedom of design through the creation of a new imaginative play space, and the use of 3D printing technology.
Traditional cubby houses emerge from a child’s desire to create their own personalised adventure, so designers from FMSA Architecture pushed the boundaries of design when it came to innovation and imagination in small spaces.
Influenced by processes and organic forms found in nature, designers used advanced fabrication techniques to synthesise and abstract the biomorphic to create a futuristic experience.
Driven by the desire to create new experiences, the flexibility of the outdoor-indoor space facilitates creative, explorative and non-structured free play.
Textured and translucent PLA polymer walls along with the multi-coloured marine grade contoured plywood floor become the backdrop for imaginative interaction; further enhanced by secret tunnels, hidden nooks and caves creating opportunities for kids to create their own intuitive play experience.
The collaborative and prototypical process led by FMSA Architecture in association with RMIT d_Lab, Upstream Studio, Aurecon and the team of suppliers has lent itself to an iterative design methodology.
From using initial concepts modelled with animation software and virtual reality googles to seek feedback from a group of primary school students; to managing the relationship between the 3d printer and our virtual models using parametric modelling; the process itself continually informed the design right up to the moment of printing.
Throughout the build process there has been constant testing and experimentation, along with failures of the technology and materials as the boundaries were pushed.
The freedoms and limitations of this advanced fabrication technique were challenging, but allowed the team to strive for innovation and create an integrated solution.
As a truly one of a kind form, the final form was driven by the need for creative solutions to design constraints.
Addressing the issues directed the end solution and set the project parameters including the logistics of the assembly, the selection and availability of plastic to use for printing; printing constraints like speed, bead size, temperature and times; panel sizes for weight and ease of transport, the connection details between the panels and other materials, and integrating structure into the panel design for rigidity.
The materials of the Kooky Cubby were selected to heighten the tactile quality of the panel forms to create a sensory experience with the addition of light and colour, whilst addressing the technical considerations of UV stability, biodegradability and weather resistance.
A cubby like no other, the Kooky Cubby is a small space that represents and promotes the possibilities of collaborative innovation. The explorative journey undertaken to design and build the Kooky Cubby is as important as the imaginative nature of play that the cubby will inspire.
Photography by Rhiannon Slatter.