Crater Lake – urban play sculpture by 24° Studio


What inspired you to design this urban play sculpture?

Crater Lake was influenced by the history of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 that led to inevitable changes. At that tragic time, people of Kobe City came together to rebuild damaged areas of the city and nowadays in our technology driven time this face to face social interaction between people is decimating.

Our design intent was to create multi-use environmental and interactive installation, which would be playful and fun space for all generations to enjoy being outdoors, socialize and relax.


Why you choose wood as a main material for the Crater Lake project?

We have used soft wood for our construction, because it grows faster, it is easily available around the world and by the time the installation is over it is easily reused and recycled.

In Japan there is a movement called “mokuiku” (or wood education) coined 2004 in Hokkaido.  One of its objectives is to introduce the value of wood during the early stage education for children so that they appreciate surrounding environment and the natural material.  So one of the reasons was ecological aspect and the other one tight budget.


What are the most important components for you of making modern playgrounds?

We believe that modern playgrounds do not have to be always located in designated closed areas. Instead, it would be great if the urban design and public spaces were designed with more fun and play ideas in mind that both adults and children would enjoy interacting with these environment. Thus cities can be more livable, directly benefiting human well-being and reinforcing positive attitudes in everyday life.


What do you see as the greatest joy from working with playgrounds?

We hoped to trigger the playful acts in people. And it worked they surpassed our expectations and discover new possibilities of interaction.

What challenges have you faced while working on this Crater Lake project?

Because of its complexity of continuous smooth and undulating form we had to tested multiple ideas of construction methods including wood steaming, bending and digital fabrication. We reached the solution to divide the circular surface into a number of radial parts, with optimal number where overall surface expression, production schedule, and transportation method meet our requirements.


Fumio Hirakawa & Marina Topunova | Studio 24°

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