On the first day of the 20th Sydney Design Festival, Scott Carver and Hoyne revealed their creative solution to a key challenge for modern cities – how to breathe new energy into everyday spaces. 

The ‘Play Pod’, a life-sized Rubik’s Cube of outdoor activation, is the brainchild and original concept of a team of architects, urbanists and creatives, inspired by their collective passion for places that inspire people every day, and prompted by the theme of this year’s Sydney Design Festival – ‘Call to Action’. 

Low-cost, flexible and portable, the Play Pod is a modular, adaptable structure that can be manipulated to suit the needs of users, and easily relocated to activate passive and vacant areas. On the surface it’s all fun and games, however the Play Pod promotes ‘play with purpose’; designed to increase the social value of a space by providing an adaptable platform for use, day and night.

“Sydney’s an incredible city, but like all complex urban centres, there are a multitude of spaces which hold so much untapped potential. We want to activate these spaces to engage the community,” says Andrew Hoyne.

“The Play Pod is an example of a nimble, small scale, low-budget idea to turn tricky, vacant city spots into inviting and stimulating spaces. It can be easily adopted by councils and developers who are trying to do just that in cities across Australia.”

“In creating a multi-purpose concept, imagination is the only limit to what can be done with the Play Pod – it can work for all age groups, at all times of the day,” adds Sarah Davis, senior associate project leader at Scott Carver.

From Friday 2nd to Sunday 11th March during the Sydney Design Festival the Play Pod will be hosting three creative sessions a day. Morning sessions, designed for children and families, include a theatre inspired playgroup from Monkey Baa Theatre, and a Great Book Swap held in support of The Indigenous Literacy Foundation.  The Children’s Book Council of Australia, (NSW branch) will be running a handful of morning and lunchtime events encouraging children’s literacy, a love of reading and learning through storytelling. 

Afternoon sessions will include a series of activations presented in partnership with University of Technology Sydney students and Professors, and during the evenings the Play Pod will be transformed into Sydney’s smallest cinema showing a series of short films.