When we think of play, we often think of playgrounds. A vital part of any urban environment, these spaces help to foster a sense of community, and provide an outlet for children (and adults!) to have fun and practice key cognitive and physical skills. But what goes into designing safe and engaging playgrounds? To find out, we spoke with WDO Member Cemer Playground Equipment, an urban equipment company based in Turkey, to learn more about their unique approach to designing with and for play. 

Founded in Izmir in 1994, Cemer is one of the world’s leading playground equipment providers, with a diverse range of products that can be found in over 72 countries worldwide  – all the way from Australia to Israel. But the company doesn’t just design playgrounds for children. They believe that everyone has a right to play and take pride in the fact that their offerings can service “the ages 7 to 70”. 

As one of the world’s leading playground equipment providers, Cemer's playgrounds can be found in over 72 countries worldwide. Credit: Cemer

As a quick overview of their design catalogue, their playgrounds for children are produced under the brands CMRPLAY and Parkfit Kent Ekipmanları, their CMRXTREME brand offers adventure parks for youth and adults, CMRACTIVE is their fitness equipment line for children, adults and disabled individuals and lastly, their city equipment is produced under the CMRURBAN brand. In this way, each of their products is specifically designed for its audience, helping to foster a unique play experience that complements different lifestyles and abilities. 

“One of the main reasons why we have such a wide product range that consists of many groups and themes is that children’s world of imagination is limitless, so we aim to cater to that through our diverse designs. Furthermore, not only do we design for children, but also we design like children. Our reference point is ‘we were children once too’ so through more nostalgic designs, we also try to make the children inside of us happy.”

Committed to offering “a high play value”, Cemer oversees all stages of their design process, from preliminary study and concept development all the way through to manufacturing and assembly. They focus on modular playground equipment, as that allows users to create different alternatives to suit different environments, even offering options for product customization. One of their most popular products is the Deltoik Climbing Series, which won a Red Dot Award in 2014 and a German Design Award in 2017. 

Many of Cemer’s playgrounds are complete with educational panels to ensure play time also becomes an opportunity for children to learn and improve in skills like grammar, memory and coordination. Some designs also include role-playing stations and 3-dimensional rope to support creative and critical thinking. 

The company's focuses on modular playground equipment, as that allows users to create different alternatives to suit different environments. Credit: Cemer

When asked about how they define a successful playground, the team at Cemer shared with us that “the key characteristics include safety, functionality, inclusivity, interaction, comfort, material and maintenance.” And while these features help guide Cemer’s design process, they do have more specific goals that pertain to each age range and that group’s relationship to play. “When designing for children, our priority is their safety and mental and physical improvement. For adults, we aim to improve physical strength, and for seniors, we look to support them on their journey of staying mentally and physically fit.” 

Having been in the urban equipment space for almost 3 decades now, the team at Cemer also recognizes the impacts that our technology-driven society has had on our traditional understanding of play. Playing outside, specifically within playgrounds, has been hampered by the world of online play, which is always just one click away. Despite this, the company knows that “the happiness that being and playing outdoors brings” is a powerful part of any childhood and that through their innovative and inclusive designs, they can continue to support individual learning and community well-being for many around the world. 

“When a playground is designed, it is designed not only for children but for everyone.”   

Interested in learning more about Cemer? Visit them on their website or follow along on social media @cemerkent.

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