Yasmine Mahmoudieh talks to journalists in London about her concept of myKidsy Playground. Photo: Koelnmesse
At imm cologne 2020, London-based architect and interior designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh will be presenting an innovative interior concept for hotels and other hospitality projects for the first time: myKidsy Playground configures creative play worlds for educating children and teenagers. The overall concept consists of interior elements and educational offerings and is designed for flexibility so that it can be integrated into existing spaces. In the interview, Yasemine Mahmoudieh talks about her motivation to start this concept and about the presentation at imm cologne and the future of myKidsy Playground.
In addition to your activity as a designer and architect, you founded the online platform myKidsy in London five years ago. What was the occasion?
As a working mother, I was faced with the challenge of keeping my children occupied after school, and didn't want her spending the entire time in front of the computer or the smartphone. While searching for offerings, I discovered that there were no corresponding online platforms. Parallel with my work as an interior designer and architect, I therefore founded a tech startup based in London to offer innovative leisure activities for children. Following an experimental phase for the myKidsy platform, I had a booking function programmed, and it had 10,000 users within a very short period of time. We want to globalise the concept on the basis of this success and transfer it to other areas.
Photo: Yasmine Mahmoudieh
You call your new project myKidsy Playground. What was the idea behind this?
In the course of my work with international hotels, but also during my own travels, I noticed that children's areas in hotels are often very minimal and not designed in a very stimulating way. We want to change that With myKidsy Playground, and have developed an overall concept: we offer a modular interior design together with a toolbox that provides content and learning offerings for children and young people. Creative play worlds for children and youth, in which they can sensibly occupy themselves and learn something, can in this way also be set up in existing spaces.
For whom is myKidsy Playground designed? And how can it be integrated?
We are primarily oriented to hotels, but it is also suitable for cruise ships, shopping centres, airports or modern coworking spaces. When their operators wish to provide children's areas, they receive a catalogue with a selection of modular elements that can be adapted to the available space and the respective needs. Learning tools are also offered, for example, for activities involving technology, artistic activity or languages.
What learning content is involved and how should this be mediated?
Already at the start of myKidsy, we offered courses for five-year-olds dealing with themes like programming, sustainability or mindfulness. We want to provide young people with important competencies for their subsequent lives. The principle of self-organisation of the myKidsy Playground enables quick implementation. It in fact makes much more sense when children and teenagers learn to meditate or learn something about climate protection, robotics or the creation of a business plan instead of sitting with their smartphones.
The international launch of myKidsy Playground will take place at imm cologne 2020. What will you present at the trade fair?
We will present a modular furniture concept for toddlers, children and youth that addresses all the senses. In a special area, we don't present entire rooms, but instead stage individual excerpts for possible applications. Innovative materials are also staged, because we attach great importance to sustainability. All items of furniture are manufactured from recycled or natural materials. The lights consist of, for example, Himalayan salt, and the upholstery of the seating elements of leather-like apple skin. We also work with materials into which aromas like carrots or apples are pressed and activated by friction. Consciousness for the environment or healthy nutrition can thus be sensitised in a playful way. We create a sensual total experience together with a scent designer and a renowned sound artist.
Photo: Yasmine Mahmoudieh
How do you see the future for the myKidsy Playground?
As a tech entrepeneur, I would like to launch myKidsy worldwide as a brand and marketplace for parents and children. The concept can be easily adapted and expanded to other areas. First, we will start the international rollout through the distribution of myKidsy Playground to hotels – I am already having discussions with several large operators. The innovative playground concept enables children to learn life skills that are not conveyed in the regular school system even today in an aesthetically inspiring environment. Ultimately, it is my vision to create a global network for making life better and simpler. In a world that is becoming increasingly complex for the younger generation, and which offers ever fewer role models, we want to provide positive offerings. When we influence young people, we influence our future. Especially for children, it is also important that they already develop an aesthetic sensibility in early life.
After studying art history, architecture and interior architecture, Yasmine Mahmoudieh opened her first studio in Los Angeles. Today, she has her head office in London and is considered to be one of the most renowned architects and interior designers worldwide.