© Kevin Ho, VMDPE Design
© Kevin Ho, VMDPE Design

The spatial design for IBOBI follows the Montessori educational approach, that is to say, respect for children’s nature and learning in consonance with their own characteristics, innate talents and interests. VMDPE Design firmly believes that children will instinctively and eagerly interact with their surroundings, while adults need only to observe and assist their needs, as well as to provide them with thoughtfully prepared environments. VMDPE Design deeply understands and caters to IBOBI’s appeal as a brand. The concept of “hidden management” was used in the design of the project, transforming the “human-made” management that often makes teachers anxious into an “environmental-made” approach that allows children to take the leading role in this space, while teachers can feel more at ease conducting educational work rather than managing education.
The entire building has been child-scaled, whether it is stairs, handrails, doors, windows etc., everything has been scaled to fulfill children’s needs, to make them feel safe and restraint-free. Soft rubber floors have been installed on selected indoor locations to allow children to exercise their sense of balance. There are also a few small slopes inside the kindergarten that allow the children’s sensory integration to develop comprehensively while they are active.

The present design creates a more natural, full of warmth, growing environment for children. VMDPE Design considers such an environment to be essential for children’s development, as a kindergarten is not an amusement park, nor it is a school, but a place where children live, a great environment that keeps them deeply interested and full of vitality, a space where they don’t resist and don’t feel afraid, allowing the liberation of their own nature and cultivation of self-awareness and interests, to prepare them for the rest of their lives. The repartition of the façade makes the entire structure even more open and allows different views from the interior of the building. Aluminum, preservative-treated wood, white glass, among other materials, match with the interior decoration. Even more, this design method eliminates the feeling of being enclosed. At the same time, it is consistent with the eye level of children and presents more distant landscapes and views, to a degree that children, teachers and even neighbors are able to enjoy it. The project aims to transform an old and outdated building into a contemporary educational space, ample and with energy-saving features. Here, VMDPE Design set up an art room, a music theatre room, an interactive projection room and a library. Outside there is a garden area for children to engage in planting activities and various types of sports venues. Furthermore, VMDPE Design transformed the entire staircase to be perfectly safe and aesthetic at the same time.

Despite space limitations, VMDPE Design imbued a vast spatial sense into the building and provided it with efficient functionality. At the same time, extensive research on scale planning was made during the design process. For example, large angled walls on the one hand “steal” space, and on the other hand create a very simple but fun spatial experience. Glass elements are used between multiple areas, effectively enhancing the sense of space and facilitating observation and interaction between children and teachers, as well as children and parents. Simple and irregular lines, combined with large amounts of wood used in the interior, provide a warm and safe atmosphere. Considering the peculiarities of Shenzhen’s damp weather, six different kinds of materials were selected for the project, all safe and easy to handle, with a uniform texture that adapts to a plethora of actual conditions, achieving a simple and unified charm.
At VMDPE Design, we aim to create a space where children feel free to explore and develop at their own pace, where they are always at the center, away from adult-oriented environments. We want to provide a corner of the world where children can stay for a long time without constant stimulation, but rather under a natural environment with dynamic and calm moments, where they can be social or feel independent at will. As a final touch, we carefully studied every window to allow sunlight into specific corners of the building, so that children can watch weather changes and the beautiful scenery gifted by the course of the four seasons.

Project Sheets
Project name: IBOBI International Kindergarten
Project location: Jingshan Villa, Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China
Design company: VMDPE Design
Main designer: Vinci Chan
Design team: Sim Chow, Echo Jia
Building structure: Frame structure
Construction end date: June 2016
Site area: 320 m2
Building area: 630 m2
Indoor area: 930 m2
Lights: Philips
Rubber mats: LG
Wall paint: buoncolor