Whale Kindergarten by ArkA Design ⇒ Once in south China’s Shenzhen, Peninsula Education Group (Peninsula) came forward with a visionary idea of creating a new learning space to help foster the next generation. Peninsula felt the necessity to build a magical place that belongs to children themselves. They believed that a novel and free environment is essential for children to learn new things actively and develop their social skills. The modern approach of ArkA Design meets the classical lines of the French design, creating one of a kind kindergarten. We can already imagine the signing up lines for this amazing kindergarten!
One day, among the wild forest of the Whale Mountain, Peninsula had found the perfect place to make this new learning space a reality. There were two identical old apartment towers with 4 floors, and each tower was immersed in Shenzhen’s tropical nature with ample space for a playground between the two buildings. Peninsula had decided to name the place Peninsula Jingshan Kindergarten, and that was when the real adventure started.
The challenging project was granted to ArkA, a bold and creative design team. Under the direction of Italian architect Michele Lanari, ArkA’s team took on the proposal to create a new education facility for children in the residential complex. ArkA designers restructured the interior space, transforming each of the old apartments into a classroom and adapting the functions of a house to a single space.
The apartments had many rooms. The new design kept part of those layouts, using them as an advantage to optimize the space. It aimed to create a cosy home environment where children feel at ease and comfortable to avoid feeling the shocking jump from home to the classroom.
The new design took into full consideration the teachers’ needs to guide the children easily and practically. New windows were built inside classrooms, allowing the teachers to observe children’s activities. Internally, aligned arches were installed to reduce obstacles and ensure freedom of children’s’ movement, meanwhile solving the problem of lack of lighting and creating a clear bright space.
The texture of natural materials like wood could stimulate children’s sense of touch, and white paint on all walls generated comfortable ambience. In addition, ArkA designers selected pastel colour palette for the bathroom and kitchen furniture which matched with corridor’s tiles to create a delicately balanced environment to relax the mind and inspire children’s creativity. By upgrading detailed components, the interior design intended, based on the usual sober style of schools, to build a dreamy palace for children.
Design and construction took approximately two years. Ever since then, the Whale Mountain has been a place full of joy and wonders. The Peninsula Jingshan Kindergarten commits itself to accompany China’s new generations in their learning and growing up, doing its best to contribute to their happiness and health.
ArkA’s a group of architects, landscape professionals, and interior designers based in Beijing and Venice; under the leadership of the Italian architect Michele Lanari since 2013. The work is inspired by globalized ideas sourced from an international team and multicultural exchange from different projects all through Asia and Europe that inspire the practice to design education facilities, business spaces, residential and commercial art.