Virginia Melnyk

Virginia Melnyk

Clemson, SC, US


Sail Boxes

The Sail Boxes were constructed as a temporary play structure for the Boston PlayDay 2015 at the Lawn on D.

Bright and colorful spandex fabric stretches over a box-like bamboo framework to create a unique play experience which offers a diverse range of interactions. The asymmetrical layout of the fabric creates a maze-like obstacle course where children are encouraged to push and pull on the fabric as they navigate through the structure. Meanwhile, small nooks create shaded spaces for people to relax and take longer rests. The shape unconventional and structure encourages discovery and creativity. Because there are no allocated functions to the Sail Boxes, it is up to the users to decide whether they create competitive games to see who can navigate from one side to the other first, or whether they host an imaginary tea party in one of the hidden nooks of fabric.

The size of the structure is not only for children, the height is just tall enough for adults to partake in the discovery and feel comforted by the smallness of the space while they are immersed in colored fabrics.

Bamboo framework connects with PVC joints for quick and easy on-site assembly. PVC connectors leave no rough edges and make smooth rounded corners that are safe for children to bump into. The bright colors entertain visually while the variety of textures (from the hard bamboo frame to the contrasting soft, manipulative fabric) offer a variety of tactile sensations. Opposed to traditional playground equipment, the undefined geometry allows children to discover new ways to play.

When not in use, the wind causes the fabric to flutter like a sail, beckoning people to come and play. With its bright colors and natural bamboo frame, it composes a new typology for play structures. The simple accumulation of cubes allows it to be built in various organizations, as a temporary play structure with an opportunity to be a continuously changing experience.

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Status: Built
Location: Boston, MA, US
My Role: Designer