2017 Best of Design Awards for Small Spaces

Playful Experimentation

2017 Best of Design Awards for Small Spaces

2017 Best of Design Awards for Small Spaces. Pictured here: Five Fields Play Structure, Matter Design + FRISCH Projects (Matter Design)

2017 Best of Design Award for Small Spaces: Five Fields Play Structure

Architect: Matter Design + FRISCH Projects
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts

Five Fields Play Structure is designed for playful ambiguity and experimentation. Twenty-foot-tall vertical elements are functional pieces of the structure as well as whimsical shapes. The colorful graphics suggest entries and key moments, without overtly labeling them. Preconceived architectural elements like doors and stairs do exist, but lead nowhere. Thresholds are tucked under levitating volumes balanced on a single wall. This design strategy provides multiple means of access to any location, allowing children to make decisions based on their comfort and imagination.

“This is delightful design that refuses both the formal and functional tropes of play structures. Though the construction appears straightforward and some of the forms and elements familiar, the space seems to be full of surprises.” —Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, GSAPP (juror)

Graphic Design:
Johanna Lobdell

Honorable Mention 

Project: Attic Transformer
Architect: Michael K Chen Architecture
Location: New York

Attic Transformer, Michael K Chen Architecture (Alan Tansey)

Working within a 225-square-foot home in Manhattan’s West Village and an adjoining five-foot-tall attic storage space, this project adapts the attic to numerous apartment functions. The entire space was aggressively subdivided and loaded with custom-fabricated transforming elements, including hanging clothing storage, pantry storage, and a pull-out dining table, paired with a pull-out workstation.