A trip to the shopping mall is now a new adventure for children looking to splash their hearts out, as water playgrounds become not only a cooling spot under the scorching sun but also an exciting element for retail properties.
Issue: Jun 2009
Sembawang Shopping Centre's rooftop Splash Park
More than just a place for retail therapy, shopping malls in Singapore are becoming landmarks for fun family activities. The latest element attracting families to these large retail centres are interactive water features designed especially for children. Shopping malls, which have adopted this exciting concept, include VivoCity, IMM, Sembawang Shopping Centre and Lot 1 which will complete its revamp by end May.
Singapore's first "interactive" water feature at the malls began unofficially at the plaza of Bugis Junction. There, a water jet fountain spews water from the ground in a ping pong animation that collides and breaks in a whimsical manner making it an irresistible ‘play-point’ for children. Being an open fountain structure, little ones could walk across these water jets, taking in its coolness and enjoying the robust water activity. The interactivity thus over time became an additional characteristic of the fountain out of the playfulness of the kids.
Mom and Dad join in for a bit of a cool down at VivoCity's Sky Park.
At VivoCity, this idea of a water play area expanded to span an area of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Situated on the third storey Sky Park, the wading pool resembles an urban beach that comes alive with the splashing and squealing of children who frolic in the cool waters. The water features blend well with the shopping environment as "the design for VivoCity was inspired by the waterfront location which evokes images of waves on the sea," says Chang Yeng Cheong, Deputy General Manager of VivoCity.
On its second level, there is also a Play Court which is an adventurously, wet playground and features engaging, interactive water features that create hours of family fun. When asked how the water features are environmentally friendly, Chang replies, "A filtration system is installed to ensure water change is kept minimal while maintaining good water hygiene." VivoCity's Sky Park water feature has won Skyrise Greenery Awards from the Singapore Institute of Architects and National Parks Board for its innovative design.
Wet and Wild
Family fun amongst colourful flower representations at IMM Water Play.
In view of the popularity of water parks, IMM in Jurong East incorporated a new rooftop water play area which comes with ‘Aquatecture’ that is even more interactive in its revamp. IMM Water Play has a number of colourful structures that provide for hours of fun playtime. These include graphic representations of flowers, windmills with buckets that tip over when filled with water, arches with water spouts and water shooters. Lena Quek, Director of DLQ Design, the firm that designed the water park, says each of these features spouts out water which is controlled by activators at the actual structures themselves. She says, "The children are able to tilt, partially rotate or pan the water play equipment/structures to aim at other children, so they are able to play "villain & prey" by ducking or avoiding being sprayed on.
Children having fun with the colourful water features at the Splash Park.
In a recent revamp, Sembawang Shopping Centre also took the opportunity to incorporate a rooftop Splash Park. Ng Sze Oun, Landscape Architecture Assistant of DLQ Design says, "Kids love it because the water-play points such as the equipment are vibrant and enticing. With all sorts of colourful water toys such as spray guns, ground level water jets and fun frog-shaped fountains, the overall presentation makes the area look 'happening'."
The design also considers the 'green' factor. The Splash Park was designed half a metre higher than the dry playground in order to accommodate a water tank system which recycles the water. "The first thing is that it's functional, but also green. The water playground works to cool down the whole building bringing down the temperature because it's on the rooftop," explains Ng. The rooftop area also embraces a natural setting with trees planted on mound forms. He adds, "Singapore is called the 'garden city' so we brought as much green as we could into the shopping mall."
Planning to have fun this weekend? Then pack some sunscreen, bathing suit, towels and a change of clothes and ride the waves of fun at the malls.