A successful interior design project must understand and fulfill the needs of the final users of the space, and today’s work certainly knows how to do it. Mama Smile is an indoor playground facility hosted within a shopping mall located in Mito, Japan, therefore targeting mothers and families and consequently their worries about, first of all, security. The project by Emmanuelle Moureaux puts security under the spotlight, as the space feels secure like being in a comfortable home. Born in 1971, the French moved to Tokyo in 1996: inspired by the layers and colors of Tokyo that built a complex depth and density on the street, and the Japanese traditional spatial elements like sliding screens, she has created the concept of shikiri, which literally means "dividing (creating) space with colors".
The playground entrance has a cut-out opening on a white wall, like a shape of a house drawn by a small child. Behind the opening is a colorful world, with houses in 7 colors in the shades of yellow, pink, green, and blue. It is like a miniature town for visitors, with a feeling of being inside a comfortable home. The layout does not give a full view the whole playground, with the colorful houses dividing the space, it encourages curiosities to discover from the gap of the back alleys and between the houses. In addition, it is hoped that the colorful space will help with the growth of the mind of the child from the viewpoint of iro-iku (meaning a method of using the effect of color to bring up concentration, imagination and communication of a child). Playground is composed of several areas of different functions, from events to crawling only, with a dedicated adjacent cafe space with floor cushion is for adults to stay on the same eye level as the children. Mama smile is a place where adults can watch over children playing freely in peace, and it is hoped that the children will build up the rich sensibility in the space full of colors.
PHOTO COURTESY: Daisuke Shima / Nacasa & Partners