National Military Museum, Soesterberg, The Netherlands - 2022
Nationaal Militair Museum
The National Military Museum aims to inform and educate about the armed forces and provide a space for the stories of the military and its soldiers to be told. There is a wealth of history to discover at the vast museum, which documents events from before World War I to modern times. With the hope of attracting young families even more and providing an immersive educational experience, the museum sought to create a fun and educational playscape.
We designed and created the Xplore playground in collaboration with Heijmans, Koppelco, Shosho BV, and Kiss the Frog, amongst others. The resulting indoor playground is an impressive interactive play experience for kids of all ages and their carers to enjoy. The playground features four large play sculptures - each depicting a separate arm of the military forces - a Chinook helicopter, a submarine, a tank and a castle.
FLY UP HIGH IN THE CHINOOK
Jump into the cockpit and steer the Chinook safely to its destination!
The helicopter is already a firm favourite!
The helicopter has lost some cargo, clamber over the clouds nearby for a closer look.
A sketch from the design development phase
In the concept development process, our designer delved into the military history of The Netherlands and the museum's vision. In collaboration with the museum, we developed the idea of an action scene featuring the 4 branches of the armed forces - the navy, army, military constabulary and the airforce. The four areas feature a sculptural centerpiece and are connected by bridges, trunks, and paths in the rubber flooring. The iconic centerpieces serve as both educational and entertaining elements for kids to explore and investigate, as they're invited to become part of the scenes.
The playground encourages kids to take a closer look at military history in a hands-on manner as they jump in and pilot the Chinook helicopter, hop onboard the mystical submarine, explore the insides of the tank, take their place on the throne by the castle or try their hand at strategizing at the command center.
COME ON A DEEP-SEA ADVENTURE
The submarine and surrounding waves are enjoyed by not only kids, but carers too!
Come on inside and try the periscope, where you can keep a lookout!
The steel bars here are a fun place for the kids to get creative with how they play - balance, hang, jump - you name it!
BECOME PART OF
A KNIGHT'S TALE
The weaponry is hidden away inside the castle - come and see!
Come sit on the throne and survey your kingdom! The horse to the left is a fun interactive game that kids can enjoy.
Inside the castle, you'll find the dungeons - come in and discover all the details.
STRATEGIZE AT THE COMMAND CENTER
Strategize and steer your own military vehicle at the interactive command center.
Kids can control the submarine, tank or helicopter as they navigate across the big map.
JOIN YOUR COMRADES
There are many creative ways to climb up the big tank!
These wobbly play features create a fun path from one area to the next - or provide a convenient bench!
FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET
Over the course of 40 minutes, the playground cycles through a day from the sun rising to the sun setting thanks to the impressive lighting design by Koppelco. This creates an immersive experience for the kids playing there, who get to experience a day in the life of the armed forces. Experience the shift in atmosphere depending on the time of day, emphasized by the integrated sound effects, that contribute to the feeling of being immersed in the stories of the playground.
The interactive features at the playground, which were implemented by skilled collaborators on this project, really take the playground to the next level. The features create an immersive experience for the kids here, truly giving them an insight into life as a soldier.
MEET THE DESIGNER
Oliver Ejlersen was the project manager and lead designer on this project. Oliver comes from a background in furniture design and thoroughly enjoyed tackling this extensive and fun project with all the various collaborators, who made this incredible playground a reality.