an international design contest
for young designers
at the Łódź Design Festival!

2021

Opniaki – portable forest playground

NATALIA GAJO, ZUZANNA WALKIEWICZ www.behance.net/nataliagajo, www.zuzannawalkiewicz.myportfolio.com www.zuzannawalkiewicz.myportfolio.com

Project description:
Opniaki are multifunctional elements for playing among the trees. They are designed for a group of ten children and one educator, e.g. for participants of summer camps. The project draws on outdoor education trends and the tradition of designing alternative playgrounds.

Children hang the set according to their own ideas – it can be used for climbing, swinging, building a base. The components of the set can perform various functions. Attaching the elements to tree trunks is necessary to play, which makes the set an excuse to go out to the forest. Opniak's goal is to involve children in the design of play spaces.

Opniaki encourage interaction with nature, familiarize children with the forest and teach them to respect it. The objects are light, durable and easy to transport. They are made of waterproof polyester fabrics and tapes. The idea of the project was consulted with educators from the Forest Education Center, teachers and an expert in playground safety. The kit was tested with several groups of children aged 6–12, among whom it aroused great interest. Thanks to the tests, the ergonomics and intuitive use of the set have been improved. The model is fully functional and easy to operate by children.

Bio:
Natalia – a fresh graduate of the Design Faculty at Warsaw Fine Arts Academy. She also studied at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart. She works with product and visual communication design. Being a designer means for her having a great opportunity to acquire knowledge from various fields. In her work, she likes to explore what emotions and thoughts can be awakened by an object. She believes that empathy is the key to using design to make a difference in the world. While working on a project she deeply values teamwork and situations where many disciplines come together. Natalia is excited to travel and to take on new challenges.

Zuzanna – before starting her studies at the Faculty of the Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, she studied Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. She tries to combine the ethnographer's workshop and creatively use the approach of a social researcher. She is interested in crafts and design focused on renewable materials. She likes to participate in the design process the most and be able to check everything tangibly, test new prototypes and make them herself.

Opniaki is another joint project of Natalia and Zuzanna. They have worked together already on the design of personalized anti-smog masks made with the use of 3D face scans and a lamp constructed from the waste after plywood laser cutting.