Flight of Fancy: Marmara Forum Cloud Playground

Photo by Asli Dayioglu

Architectural and engineering ingenuity molded with whimsical ideas of play has given birth to Cloud Playground, a vibrant, spherical play area situated at the rooftop terrace of the Marmara Forum. Located at the heart of Bakirköy district in Istanbul, this exciting new space for fun and recreation easily captures the imagination of both children and adults alike with its kaleidoscopic colors and labyrinth-style interior, it perfectly captures the idea of fun where only the sky’s the limit. 

Photo by Asli Dayioglu

The brainchild of Carve, an architectural design firm based in Amsterdam, the project was commissioned as part of Marmara Forum’s efforts to revamp itself as a premiere commercial center. As explained by Carve, “The terrace and the food court had been renovated to re-establish the Forum as a prominent shopping centre, and it needed a new playground that matches that allure.” The result was a rooftop playground on the terrace of the Forum at 24-meters above street level. 

The playground itself is able to accommodate a diverse group of children, with different areas designed to meet this requirement. There is a toddler area for younger children while older children get to explore more of the playground including a climbing dome and a climbing tower, almost eight-meters tall with an internal slide included. “The interior of the clouds is completely furnished with play elements: children can climb, slide, lounge in a forest of hammocks and experience height from behind a window looking at the city’s skyline or by looking down through the climbing nets.”, explains the design team. 

Photos by Asli Dayioglu

Among other constraints, Carve also considered the children’s exposure to the elements when coming up with their design. Parents are able to remain at ease knowing their kids can continue to enjoy their playtime, come rain or shine. The design firm was in fact able to use these weather changes as a design element through color play. The choice of white as the playground’s primary hue is beautifully juxtaposed with numerous candy-colored windows of various shapes and sizes, giving off a sense of “magical realism” as intended by the design team. 

But perhaps the biggest challenge that Carve had to meet was coming up with a playground that can accommodate a sizable amount of children but with limited space. Another aspect to consider was the logistics of building a structure resilient enough to withstand heavy foot traffic given the existing load limits of the rooftop terrace. This was made possible through spreading the weight of the construction over 275 various hexagonal and pentagonal panels, making the spheres of play clouds its own self-supporting structure. 

Photos by Asli Dayioglu

An iconic landmark in the making, Cloud Playground is an architectural marvel made possible when world-class local craftsmanship, a clear sense of direction, and a strong vision come together. As highlighted by Carve, “It is impressive to see how all parties involved have been working constructively, moving together in the same direction, to make the project come alive.”  As of this writing, several lockdown restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted in Istanbul with a number of public spaces beginning to re-open. Much like the sun slowly hovering over the horizon as it approaches dawn, hopefully children will soon be given the freedom to discover the joys of this wonderful castle in the sky. 

Photo by Asli Dayioglu

Cover Photo by Asli Dayioglu

Camille Morales graduated from De La Salle University with a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts, majoring in Development Studies. She spent the first of her post-graduate years navigating the corporate world. However, it was her love of interiors and the creative spirit that made her heart race, and eventually inspired her to dive in head first into the design field. She splits her time between being an interior design student from Philippine School of Interior Design and a contributing writer at Aciiid. A city girl at heart, her days off are often spent immersing herself in Manila’s art and culture, pouring over endless piles of books (preferably with a nice glass of wine), and indulging in the latest food craze with friends during the weekends.

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