Many Happy re-Turns is an object designed to materially facilitate the "learning through play" pedagogical approach and generate the possibilities for children to infuse imaginative play into their everyday living and educational environments. It is a single yet highly transformative element that creates the possibilities for playful interaction and communication by providing seven basic spatial configurations, as a single object, and open-ended settings for two or more, limited only by the imagination. The object is initially presented as a chair, baring a number of morphological influences that trigger a child’s imagination. When children begin to turn it over, and over, they begin to identify in it a variety of known shapes, ranging from animals (elephant, turtle, dove) to archetypical forms (house, milk box, boat). When more Many Happy re-Turns modules come together in a group, the result follows the activities of the children, assisting them in play scenarios, play personalities, play patterns and zones. This creates the conditions for a variety of play modes comprised of construction play, fantasy play, creative play, symbolic play and play with rules, through individual, parallel, onlooking and group activities. During all these interactions, children are presented with different opportunities to develop and fine-tune their developmental skills and abilities. The form of the object was designed so that it can be easily pushed, rolled, lifted and re-located by children, as well as to get nested by grown-ups in order to save space when it is not used. It is all made of corrugated cardboard. The colorful sides where made to increase variety. The blackboard surface was added to help personalize the teaching process. As an object it is very rigid, yet lightweight, and most-importantly safe for children, who can very easily get familiar with its scale. Grown-ups can also use it as a seat.
124|SKG Architects :: Marianthi Liapi and Kostis Oungrinis Marianthi Liapi (born 1976, Thessaloniki, Greece) is a practicing architect since 2003, with a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh). She received a Master of Science (SMArchS) degree in Design and Computation from MIT, where she studied with a Fulbright scholarship. In 2008 she received the Europe 40 Under 40 Architecture Award. Her independent research focuses on the perceptual transformability of spaces, combining her interests in architectural design, spatial cognition, digital media and information-rich environments. In 2002, her team entry received an Honorable Mention award at the ACADIA DDE competition. Her research has been presented in several international conferences, while her work has been exhibited in various exhibitions, in Greece and abroad. Currently she is a Lecturer (407/80) at the School of Architecture at the Technical University of Crete. In 2005 she co-founded 124|SKG Architects, a research and design office, with Kostis Oungrinis. Their architectural projects explore transformability in various scales, ranging, till now, from retail design and residential spaces, to school architecture and athletic facilities. They are also experimenting with conceptual projects. Kostis Oungrinis (born 1970, Thessaloniki, Greece) is a practicing architect since 1995, with a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh). He also holds a PhD from the same university with his research focusing on structural morphology and integrated kinetic systems for the creation of transformable environments. In 2008 he received the Europe 40 Under 40 Architecture Award. During 2004-2006 he was a Visiting Research Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His research has been presented in several conferences and publications, including his book in the Design and Technologies Report Series at the Harvard GSD under the title Transformations: Paradigms for Designing Transformable Spaces (2006). Kostis is also writing science fiction novels. Currently he is a Lecturer (407/80) at the School of Architecture at the Technical University of Crete. He is co-founder of 124|SKG Architects with Marianthi Liapi.