Design Museum San Francisco, Playworld, And The City Of San Francisco Bring New Public Play Sculpture To Civic Center Plaza

The PlayCubes installation is a Part of Design Museum San Francisco’s Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibition Opening at the San Francisco Public Library on April 6

SAN FRANCISCO — Design Museum San Francisco, Playworld, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance are pleased to announce the opening of a PlayCubes playground at Civic Center Plaza. The play space leverages public art to reunite communities, and is part of Design Museum San Francisco’s Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit, a nationally-traveling exhibition exploring the importance of play in childhood development, while showcasing how designers translate play objectives into innovative, extraordinary and outdoor play environments.

Playworld, a leading commercial playground equipment manufacturer committed to saving outdoor unstructured play, demonstrates a shift in playground design with PlayCubes — play equipment originally introduced in the 1960s by Architect Richard Dattner, and recently reintroduced by Playworld through an exclusive partnership between Dattner and the company. Redesigned from Dattner’s original concept, PlayCubes now provide even more physical, social and cognitive play value and engagement. The modular design and distinctive geometric shapes encourage exploration, child-directed, and open-ended play for children five and up. Kids can climb into the cubes from various angles, experience them at different levels, and explore new ways to get active and play.

“Playworld is delighted to partner with Richard Dattner on reviving his original PlayCubes,” said Missy Benson, Play & Design Specialist for Playworld. “The iconic sculptural play forms enhance any outdoor space and provide a play environment that is unique and supportive to child development. The structures encourage positive, open-ended, child-directed play, and we are absolutely thrilled to help bring PlayCubes back to children and communities everywhere” said Benson.

Through support from San Francisco Recreation & Parks and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, PlayCubes will be open for play through the summer, while the plaza’s permanent playgrounds are under construction. Along with these playground renovations, SF Rec & Park and Parks Alliance have partnered through Let’sPlaySF!, an initiative that will renovate 13 most deserving playgrounds in San Francisco.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Design Museum Foundation to celebrate the joy and importance of play,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager, Phil Ginsburg. “Playgrounds bring the communities together and nurture growing bodies and minds. These are the reasons SF Rec and Park and the SF Parks Alliance are partnering on Let’sPlaySF!”

“San Francisco needs more place spaces that invite children to be physically active, use their imaginations, and accommodate children of all abilities.” Said Drew Becher, CEO of the Parks Alliance. “We’re excited to partner with the Design Museum Foundation to recognize the importance of play for San Francisco’s children.”

Design Museum San Francisco’s Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit is free and open to the public, and runs from April 6 through July 8 at the San Francisco Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center. Featuring more than 40 pioneering play spaces from around the world, Extraordinary Playscapes showcases the latest thinking in playground design while presenting how vital free play is to childhood development, thriving communities and social equity.

“Our goal is to connect San Francisco to the free play movement through an exceptional public exhibition about the design of playscapes,” said Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation. “There are so many examples of extraordinary playscapes in the world and we’re hoping to inspire people of all ages to get outside and play. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Playworld and the City of San Francisco to bring PlayCubes to a public space for all to enjoy.”

When the PlayCubes are removed from Civic Center later this year they will be permanently installed in a San Francisco playground to be determined in the coming months.

Extraordinary Playscapes and the new PlayCubes playground in San Francisco were made possible through support from Playworld, the National Endowment for the Arts, Sappi Ideas That Matter, BSA Space, and Another Planet Entertainment.

Editor’s note: High-resolution images are available for media upon request.



About Design Museum San Francisco

At Design Museum San Francisco we believe design can change the world. Done well, it can elevate our quality of life, make businesses more competitive, and protect our environment. Design awareness, education, and expertise are more important now than ever before as design continues to impact communities, organizations, and markets around the world. Design Museum San Francisco is redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century — we’re online, nomadic, and accessible to all through a network of exhibitions, events, and content. Our mission: Bring the transformative power of design everywhere, to inspire a world full of creative problem solvers. For more information visit

About Playworld

Playworld is a division of PlayPower®, Inc. Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld’s equipment and surfacing are designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For nearly 50 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. For more information visit

About San Francisco Recreation & Parks

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community. Today the department, overseen by the Recreation and Park Commission, administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. For more information visit

About San Francisco Parks Alliance

The Mission of the San Francisco Parks Alliance is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain, and enrich San Francisco parks, recreation and green open spaces.

About Let’sPlaySF!

Let’sPlaySF! is a public-private partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance created to ensure San Franciscans continue to have great places to play by supporting the renovation of the city’s 13 most deserving playgrounds. These playgrounds were selected by a citizen task force based on presence of unhealthy chemicals in playground wood, with priority given to playgrounds in low-income neighborhoods that are dense with children. The partnership will augment $15.5 million for playground improvement approved by voters in the 2012 Clean & Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond with $11 million being raised by the Parks Alliance to ensure all 13 playgrounds can be improved in the next few years. San Francisco families and foundations have already stepped up to support private fundraising efforts, contributing millions in philanthropic funding and we invite others to join.


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