x+living, a renowned shanghai-based architectural design firm, completed a whimsical swimming and recreational club for children and parents, the loong swim club in suzhou, china. the colorful accents and caticature-esque geometries create dream-like environments in each room. polka-dotted and striped furniture and lighting pieces add pops of patten in pastel spaces. all the areas are meant to foster interaction between the children and their parents, making the children feel safe and free playing around in wonderland.
well informed of their target audience – children, parents and infants all inhabiting the same areas – the team of designers considered the habits and behaviors of all of the groups. the designers divided the parent-child swim club into five main functional areas, all flowing through seamlessly from once space to the next through a fantastic narrative.
a big whale that wraps around a column, jumping out of the water welcomes visitors when entering the building through the reception area. the area features a desk in the shape of a ship and a small arc lace outlined on the bottom is meant to represent a wave pushing the ship and the narrative to the next space. passing through the reception and the shoe changing area, guests are led on to the reading room.Children swimming in Shanghai
ranging between giant slides and small nooks, the reading area includes a series of curved, over-sized seating pieces, or ‘leisure couches’. the colorful pieces are scattered in a dotted carpet, inviting children to accomodate themselves to read. the designers intended them to represent waves, cradling the children in infinite seating positions. bookshelves are incorporated into both of the couch’s ends. looking up at the lights in the reading area, the round lampshades are meant to look like sprays of water splashing in the sky. towards the left and right ends of the reading area, kids and parents can access the swimming pool and the restaurant.
the swimming pool looks like a huge water tank surrounded by pastel pink arches. to one side of the swimming pool, there is a variety of small classrooms hosting a variety of DIY workshops for kids and on the other side there is a walkway and seats creating a rest and companion area for parents. the swimming pool’s light blue hue contrasts agains the pink space in a magical evnironment and the giant overhead water droplets add to the dramatic effect. the over-sized round droplets in the ceiling acting as lighting devices creating a light atmosphere where children can be easily monitored by their parents.
the window between the pool and the parents area play an important role in the space, allowing parents to watch their children swim and children to interact back. at the end of the corridor is the bath area divided into children and adults. huge flower chandeliers adorn the infant bath area providing eye-catching pieces in the space’s ceiling. while parents bathe their babies, the latter are distracted observing the intricate and colorful patterns inside the lamps, making the experience easier for the parents. going back from the pool to the reading area, towards the right side of it, guests can access the dining area.
the ‘eggshells castle’ is the centerpiece of the restaurant that defies all senses of space and place, of sizes and heights and playful geometries. the mirrored ceiling gives the room an endless horizon, reflecting the busy and colorful interior. children are invited to play inside the eggs, or climb up and over them, encouraging guests them to experience the space in a playful way. the fairy-tale shapes welcome children and adults alike into this wonderland, hosting the dining tables around the eggshell castle so parents can keep track of their children.
other parts of the project take guests through maze-like hallways, clad with mirrors and a terrazo-style carpet, creating the illusion of being lost in an alice in wonderland scene. the party room’s fun chandeliers remind viewers of christmas ornaments and circus decorations in pastel tones that bring back childhood memories. the project’s overall color palette is a pastel range of pinks, blues and neutrals, disregarding color in gender intentionally. the colorful shapes in the interiors also include thin, black lines that add an avant-garde aesthetic to the project.