LocationUniversal Trade Centre, 3 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
Design AssistantEdward Du
ClientBabysteps limited, member of HK Focus Media Network Limited
Cost1.24 million HKD ( including signages, furnitures, appliances and equipment)
Text description provided by the architects. BabySteps is new playgroup in the heart of Central. Situated on Arbuthnot road, on the 25th floor of the Universal Trade Centre Tower. Created to shape and foster a unique learning experience, Babysteps offers innovative psychological approaches to bring to life each child’s passion for learning.
Centered around play, music and art therapy, the focus is on progressive learning while ensuring healthy psychological growth in every individual child. So, too, the design offers imaginative ways for children to grow and explore. Within the 160 sqm of commercial floor layout, Babysteps interior, therefore, features three main concepts: 1. Boldness: Enhanced simplicity, spatial depth with transparency and fluidity 2. Colour: Bringing the joy of colour in an elegant and subtle manner to the context 3. Brightness: open, spacious and inviting layout.
In the spirit of a large open loft space, the interior fit-out for Babysteps is a series of crafted and specialized spaces for learning, interconnected for ease through an inviting, fluid and open space, where play and learning intermingle into one experience. The principal playzone marks this center of exploration and movement. It is an open, luminous and inviting play area with multiple zones of activities: active, tactile, and calm. A large feature wall with curved geometrical colorful cutouts and built-in storage anchor the space and provide a playful yet peaceful backdrop for staging transformative play. Further, the cutouts provide glimpses into the classrooms from the children’s level as well as at the adults’ level.
Behind the feature wall, there are three classrooms that align with the glass curtain wall. Modular, these classrooms provide intimate group activities at different times of the day. A moveable partition between the larger and standard classroom allows the creation of a larger classroom for the use of the interactive digital media-board.
The entry area is essential to the initial welcome of both young children and visitors. Through the transparent glass doors, the entry is made up of a series of curved planes assembled with vertical colour and monochromatic metallic louvers. The gentle undulation unfolds itself into the reception area as well as the staff area, containing 4 workstations. The undulation of the vertical fins creates a subtle play of light and shadow and crafts a visual identity for BabySteps.
The pantry and the lounge area are the two zones mutually designed for parents and teachers to interact and to enjoy each other’s company. The Pantry, functionally, is a layout-kitchen with multi-colour cabinetry. It evokes a sense of fun and a whimsical quality. The colours are derived from the same colour tones as the Babysteps logo. The pantry connects with the visual identity of the playgroup while it also playfully interacts with the overall subtle monochromatic qualities of the interior space. The lounge is a sitting area made up of zig-zagging built-up platforms. Tucked neatly in its corner and against the ledge of the glass curtain wall, and without intruding onto the children’s playzone, the lounge allows for a perfect viewing angle of the children both for appreciating the children’s revelations to learn more, too, in the daily miracles of taking in new steps.