A new swing set, set in a ring – Ring of Swings - offers a place for multi-generations to come together and play, encouraging fun for all ages for residents of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
No matter if you are old or young, everyone is welcome in the Ring of Swings. The playground is not designed for kids only, instead it is place aimed at connecting different generations. There are wide rocking chairs for relaxing, various designs for swinging and a central opening space for social encounters. In this way, different generations interact side by side. This was the agenda of the design that challenged the view of the classical swings for kids and lonely benches for adults. The design is functional, certified as safe, and follows a design ambition to become a unique place to come together!
The Ring of Swings aims to test new formats of social relations in public space, it is a hybrid form, where you can relax, meet others and swing wildly regardless of age. The circular layout resembles a clearing in the forest where the slender wooden columns recall tall trees. The swings hang from a structural ring between these wooden columns. All swings face each other so it’s easier to talk, listen and see each other while having fun. The aim is to stimulate new encounters that can trigger conversations between its visitors. Everyone knows the benches in the park, they are often placed along a path or in the periphery of the park, unfortunately, they do not often encourage social interaction. If you want to laugh or play then you go to the children's playground, which is designed specifically for children. As a parent -or grandparent- it often comes down to being on the sideline. The Ring of Swings instead is a concept that overlaps those existing functions into a hybrid space relaxing and playing.
Structurally the design is based on a sound geometry, except that there is a torsion mode which should be taken into account due to the load demands. Since the design is circular, we have taken into account that all swings could go directly to one side or the other. If a whole group of people are swinging simultaneously and at the same direction this would place a higher than usual demand for structural stiffness. The obvious answer to this is to have structural braces but since you don’t have these intrusive elements all the stiffness should come from the vertical wood elements. The stiffness is also reinforced by the upper metal ring that binds the whole design into a close geometry. It’s good to recall that there are several swing types and each required its own structure and performance tests.
Images © Inter.National.Design & Studio ID Eddy via ArchDaily