Cheeky Munchkins Club
Managers: Kirill and Elena Cheburashkin
Working group: Ekaterina Kalugina, Valery Zaslavsky, Anna Bezrukova, Nikolai and Anatoly Cheburashkin, Nicholai Greznev and Ksenia Evstigneeva
Monaco, Monte Carlo 2019
Children's club "Munchkins club" is located right on the seafront!
The club has been functioning for a long time, and we have been working on a small part of it. Our goal was to transform a 108-square-meter office space with a very non-standard geometry into a child-friendly space with several Montessori practice areas.
Interference in the structural part should have been minimal because in Monaco everything is strictly - after renting the space, you need to return it in its original form! Office partitions made of glass and aluminum profiles had to be left, but wherever we needed a wall for hanging equipment, we fixed panels made of chipboard.
In the project, at the zoning stage, we have provided 5 main zones:
- the lounge area with frameless chairs, rocking chairs, large blackboard and library
- the developing Montessori play area with a playhouse, a game "Photorobot", a game "Proshariki" and a dozen of interactive panels
- the classroom
- the sensory room
- the boss' office for personal meetings with parents
The main rule of the space where children are taught according to the Montessori system is that all games, equipment, and all space should be available for an independent study by a child. In our case, space was designed for the age group from 0 to 3 years - many "users" are still taking their first steps here, and some are even making their first crawls :)
This area is full of all sorts of interactive wall panels; a mirror for the first steps of the child and acquaintance with its capabilities; low shelves for Montessori materials and games; a small playhouse for kids that need some privacy, don't want to play with others, turn all the wheels and levers or aren't too active at all :)
For active babies, we have provided several load balancers, different in complexity and function.
Interactive game "Photorobot"
In the center of the room, we faced a "nuisance" - a supporting concrete column. To fix this problem, the game "Photorobot" was created. Munchkins club is international and children of all nationalities come there, so our Illustrator Valeria Zaslavskaya tried not to forget anyone and drew all the nations and even the club's signature character - the gnome :)
The task of the game is to assemble a single image from the parts applied to the rotating cylinders. Despite the complex engineering construction inside the cylinders - the game looks very simple and is absolutely safe, small users can't touch the wheels and bearings.
A playhouse where you can retire, in our opinion, is a mandatory element of any kid's space, where there is more than one child at a time! Inside the playhouse, there are soft pillows, where you can hide and lie down if you are tired of sorting buckwheat or communicating with peers :)
The playhouse "tree" has a circular route - you can climb into one "hollow" and get out of the other :)
The arrangement of the playhouse in this place allowed us to reach the potential of a complex layout with an unpleasant sharp angle.
Birds are our special pride, their paws are touching in the literal and figurative sense - their length can be changed and everyone who passes by, surely does it!
The classroom accommodates 12 children. We also used our famous growing and stackable Teddy and Eddy tables and chairs as classroom furniture.
The racks are all low and open because children of any age should be able to take any methodological material from them without the help of an adult.
On the wall, there is a large map of the world, located so close that even the youngest can reach it.
The front wall is occupied by a developing game "Memory" and a blackboard for teachers and students. Ledges for storing chalk are located at different heights for all growth groups.
Above the blackboard there is a soft Latin alphabet - all the letters have velcros - you can remove them and make words. To access the alphabet and the top of the blackboard, our irreplaceable ladder "Slonyasha" is always "grazing" next to it
Interactive game "Memory"
Everyone has played the board game "Memory" at least once in their lives - cards are scattered face down on the table, each card has a picture on the front side, each picture has its own pair. The task is to turn over two cards per turn, gradually remembering where which picture is to turn over two identical ones.
We wanted to make sure that this game could be played by as many people of all ages as possible and that it would be interesting to watch, even for a small baby.
And we did! - wall game "Memory" with rotary signs, to which, with the help of special clips, you can attach images on any subject!
Lounge area and library
Inasmuch as the main space of the club already has a main entrance area with a reception desk, a place for prams and a small cafe, we decided to allocate this space next to the entrance for a lounge area with a library. You may ask why the children's center has a lounge area because it is not a hookah or a night club?
The answer is very simple, if you have at least once watched children during the day, you know exactly how they love to lie in the most strange poses on the furniture, which does not dictate the position, posture, and so on. Therefore, rocking chairs, and frameless puffs are mandatory attributes of a comfortable space for children to relax.
One playhouse is good, but two is better! Another playhouse, a wigwam, where you can hide and retire, is located here, in the lounge area. Thanks to this well-thought-out zoning, even with the maximum occupancy of the room, children will not interfere with each other.
A large chalk wall allows you to show all your wildest creative imaginations - draw a huge city with hundreds of characters that you can search for weeks or just carelessly doodle something and not be afraid to ruin the paper. You can easily erase all failures at any time :)
Now many kindergartens have sensory rooms, usually, they are combined with the psychologist's office or attached to them. The sensory room is a place where a child learns about themselves and the world around them through the senses - seeing, hearing, touch, and sense of smell. Many people mistakenly believe that such spaces are only necessary for children with disabilities, but in fact, sensory rooms are not only a method of treatment but also a way of relaxation and a place for developing classes. This space helps to control anxiety or nervous overexcitation and just feel safe and protected.
Touch and interactive panels are installed around the entire perimeter of the room, with them you can experience completely different tactile sensations.
There are sandpapers of different calibers, gloves with buckwheat and beans, finger mazes, where at the beginning is a cold metal, and at the end of the way - soft felt, fur, grass, sequins, brass and much more. Floor panels are mobile, they allow you to use not only the receptors on the palms but also on the feet (you can only enter the sensory room in socks).
Thanks to the mirror above the large sand drawing table, you can create symmetrical drawings on it twice as fast
The hugging machine
This machine was first developed by Temple Grandin - the most famous woman with autism, a Professor at the State University of Colorado. That machine looked like a torture machine, but it worked well - it allowed autistic people to get the hugs they needed but couldn't get from people.
Together with our student and author of the project, Anna Bezrukova, we improved the design and aestheticized the product itself. Three rows of tightly hugging rollers with different tactile properties-soft fabric; sliding raincoat and fluffy fur now work tirelessly for the little users of the club!
In addition to children's spaces, we often have the task of developing a project for the office of the director or the head of a children's center, school, cultural center, etc.
We are deeply convinced that these "holy places" can not be ignored by the designer. After all, the boss's office is the place that often makes the first impression on parents, partners or future employees. And the first impression, as you know, can only be made once.
Here, the boss's office is very democratic, but the comfort and ergonomics are at the highest level.
The geometric painting on the main wall and large-format posters in the theme of the club give this space its individuality.