Geoparc de Percé in Quebec, Canada
In the summer of 2016, Geoparc de Percé in Quebec, Canada opened their gates to a unique new indoor playground. It is a huge, three-dimensional rope-net landscape in the theme of a water world, designed to reflect the surrounding landscape of the town of Percé. The concept was devised by the architects Groupe BC2 from Montreal and was created in collaboration with rope play specialists Berliner Seilfabrik. Percé lies directly on the eastern coast of Canada, in a landscape characterised by steep cliffs and impressive rock islets. These features inspired a correspondingly diverse and unique net landscape for the indoor playground.
The reason for a climbing landscape, which is almost entirely made from rope, was that Geoparc wanted to create a feeling of walking on water. The mesh of the area nets has made this possible while at the same time providing a great climbing challenge for children.
Two black space nets span the entire area of the room separating it into three levels of play. The top ‘sky’ layer has a ceiling full of stars that is visible looking up through the nets from way down on the floor and a layer representing the surface of the water. A marine world forms the underwater themed middle layer and the bottom level represents the ocean floor. The levels are connected by three conical net-funnels, which are greatly reminiscent of the rock formations that protrude from the water off the coast of Percé.
Above the funnels, kids can climb from the sky through to the underwater world and all the way down to the ocean floor. For those who want to reach the bottom quickly from the very top, there is a tunnel slide which takes you directly there. Linking the two water themed levels there are climbing ropes that resemble underwater plants. On the top level, hammocks are suspended directly beneath the ceiling for kids to climb inside and experience the sensation of floating in the air.
There were challenges in implementing the climbing landscape. “Enclosed spaces are often a special challenge regarding the planning, as the space is clearly predefined and thus inflexible”, explains Marius Kotte, Architect and Head of Construction and Development at Berliner. “This affects the accuracy of fit of the nets as well as their connection points, which have to be set accordingly.” In order to ensure the required stability, screw straps were thus screwed directly onto the steel beams of the building.
Since the opening, hundreds of kids have been all over the net landscape every day. “We are really very happy”, says the President of the Geoparc de Percé on ICI Radio Canada. “Percé already has a lot to offer, but we were searching for tourist attractions which are also attractive during bad weather. We now have something to offer all year-round.”