Corvus Design Blog

October 12, 2010

Alvar Aalto – Designing WITH Play

While designing for play is our overarching query, we must question how designing with play can inform our process and product, potentially creating a more refined end result that communicates and activates on varying levels.

Alvar Aalto discusses the integration of experimentation and play in his design methodology, while also stressing responsibility.

[I have] a firm conviction and instinctive feeling that in the midst of our labouring, calculating, utilitarian age, we must continue to believe in the crucial signifigance of play when building a society for human beings, those grown-up children. The same idea, in one form or another, surely lies at the back of every resposible architect’s mind. A one-sided concentration on play however, would lead us to play with forms, structures, and eventually the body and soul of other people; that would mean treating play as a jest […] we must combine laboratory work with the mentality of play, or vice versa. Only when the constructive parts of a building, the forms derived from them logically, and our empirical knowledge is [sic] coloured with what we might seriously call the art of play; only then are we on the right path. Technology and economics must always be combined with a life-enhancing charm.

Excerpt from,
The Thinking Hand, Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture, by Juhani Pallasmaa

Alvar Allto – Sketch for Vuoksenniska Church, 1955
From the exhibit
Shifting Contour ,Experiencing Landscape in Aalto’s Architecture
Alvar Aalto Museum May 17 – September 27, 2009