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Photo: MONSTRUM. Playground in Tulsa, USA.

Lifestyle

MONSTRUM - the most fabulous playgrounds in the world

Before MONSTRUM, most playgrounds looked much the same. But since 2003, the Danish company has created magic all round the world with playgrounds nobody had ever seen the like of before. They make you want to be a child again.

Whether they're in Denmark or Dubai, MONSTRUM playgrounds are designed to fit the local surroundings they're going to be part of. They always have their own expression and can be breathtakingly beautiful such as Krystalpaladset in Gothenburg’s Liseberg and Tårnlegepladsen in Copenhagen's Fælledparken.

MONSTRUMs chrystal palace at Liseberg, Gothenburg. Photo: MONSTRUM

They can also be as crazy as the Plant vs. Zombies playground in Wuxi, China, or the Monsters in Copenhagen. They can include shipwrecks and crashed planes in the Bermuda Triangle at Nørrebro, or space rockets at the Cosmos playground in Moscow. They can include whales, bears, parrots and lions, tea services, dragons and steam locomotives.

MONSTRUMS Plants vs Zombies in Wuxi, Kina. Photo: MONSTRUM

But even though no two are the same, MONSTRUM playgrounds are instantly recognizable with their colorful figures, features behind the facades and fantastic craftsmanship. Everything is designed and built by the company's 40 architects, designers and carpenters in Brøndby, Copenhagen.

MONSTRUMS Cosmos-playground in Moscow. Photo: MONSTRUM

However, it all started on a more modest scale when artist Ole Barslund Nielsen and designer Christian Jensen undertook to build a new playground for a local kindergarten. Instead of buying expensive, ready-made products, they created a playground in wood with a princess tower, space rocket and slide.

“We got such a fantastic response from both children and adults that we decided to start a company to see how it would go,” says Barslund Nielsen.

“We produced a few sketches, 3D models and a website, and went round Copenhagen to sell playgrounds locally. We accepted one project at a time - when we had won an order, we went home and built the playground.”

Playgrounds at Dokk1 i Aarhus. Photo: MONSTRUM.

It wasn't long before orders started flowing in, including from abroad. “We got loads of publicity in blogs and magazines all round the world, and we ensured we had some great photographs to go with this. Customized playgrounds are a bit of a niche product, but I think the fun combination of stage set design and artistic merit using low tech materials such as timber and screws, makes us appealing. In principle, any creative person can do something similar at home in their garage,” says Barslund Nielsen.

MONSTRUM's wild boar at the historical playground in Hald, Viborg. Photo: MONSTRUM

The business grew and MONSTRUM has now built over 230 playgrounds, mostly in Denmark and Sweden, but also in other parts of the world. 

“We actually export around 80% of what we make,” says Barslund Nielsen, “and we're really gaining momentum in both the US, Middle East and Asia”.

MONSTRUMs plane playground at Copenhagen airport. Photo: MONSTRUM

In fact, MONSTRUM is doing so well that they have been awarded Danish financial daily Børsen’s Gazelle Prize for the seventh time. This is awarded to a company that in the space of four accounting years, has enjoyed positive growth each year and at least doubled turnover over those four years.

MONSTRUMs samovar-playground in Moscow. Photo: MONSTRUM.

What’s so special about MONSTRUM?

“First and foremost, we inspire children to play and use their bodies,” says Barslund Nielsen. “And at the same time, our playgrounds can give an area a real lift. They create a sense of identity and a new urban space, that both children and adults can enjoy spending time at and keep returning to. Bear in mind, that there are as many adults as there are children in our playgrounds. When a playground also fascinates adults, both they and their children enjoy a shared experience and feeling that it’s fun to have some physical exercise, and that there is an alternative to sitting at home playing on the computer.”

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