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Stylish new children’s activity centre in Sydney redefining what it means to ‘play’

March 25, 2017

Forget plastic jungle gyms, Scandinavian design has made its way into Australian play spaces. Photo: Supplied

The cool, muted tones of Scandinavian design might have reached saturation point in the household furniture market, but it is only getting started in children’s play centres.

Wave goodbye to cramped red and yellow jungle gyms with screaming, out of control kids: this play centre in Alexandria, Sydney, called NUBO, not only looks on-trend, it is designed for what its creators say is “pure play”.

Nubo A reading nook styled on a hot air balloon is one of many scattered through the library space. Photo: Supplied

The first of its kind in Australia, the NUBO play centre was designed in collaboration with Joey Ho and Patrick Leung of PalDesign Architects and the design firm Frost*.

“The aim of NUBO is to steer away from the typical play centre clichés of bright colours, plastic toys and computer screens. We are promoting a sense of ‘pure play’ through a beautiful, clean and considered space where parents and children can interact during the entire play process,” a NUBO spokesperson said.

Nubo The quirky design extends to the bathroom. Photo: Supplied

Instead of plastic toys, there’s a library, anchored by a ‘hot air balloon’, with reading nooks scattered around the room.

NUBO says that the concept for the play centre – which isn’t a daycare and still requires parental supervision –  has been guided by early childhood principles, with an emphasis on “exploration and connection”.

If that sounds fancy, just wait until lunchtime.

Even the food is a step away from the party pie, sausage roll and hot chips.

Instead the ”Nubo Café” has an emphasis on healthy, wholesome food made to order, with Sonoma bakery listed as a partner.

”Working with Joey Ho and the Frost*collective team has been an exciting and enriching experience. The outcome is quite stunning and we have already received incredibly positive feedback from parents and children who have visited,” the spokesperson said.

There’s a building room full of what they call Big Blue Blocks, MagFormers and Kaleido Gears; and a zone for ‘active play’ which includes a giant climbing frame with slides and hiding spaces.

There’s a craft room where structured classes can be taught and things are allowed to get messy.

Nubo The climbing frame and slides is next to a sitting area. Photo: Supplied

And yes, there’s still a ball pit.

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