Kontinent Mall Says “Hello!” (Здравствуйте) to PLAYTIME


Child sitting on zebra sculpture

Russian shopping centers have long understood the value of entertaining their youngest guests. But until Kontinent Mall opened a PLAYTIME play area, their play offerings were rather commonplace.

“Indeed,” says Natalia Oreshina, co-owner of Art Playtime, “each mall tries to offer a play area for kids but it’s usually plastic slides, climbers and tubes or paid zones which cater to older children with video games. Until now, the offerings have been very limited in choice.”

That is all changing, starting with Kontinent Mall in St. Petersburg, Russia. Owned by Adamant Holding, Kontinent Mall recently opened a one-of-a-kind, jungle-themed soft play area, the first PLAYTIME playground in Russia. Art Properties introduced the play area concept to Adamant Holding.

kontinent mall5 940x645“Our expectations were completely met,” said an Adamant Holding representative. “Children are delighted. They enjoy climbing on the animal figures, rolling down and cuddling them. It is joyful to think that one of the reasons for a family to visit our complex will be their child’s desire to once again enjoy our wonderful playground.”PLAYTIME’s partnership with Oreshina, who is also owner of Art Properties, started in 2012 at the ICSC Shanghai Conference. After some discussion, the two parties agreed that a newly opened company, Art Playtime, would be the sole representative of PLAYTIME products in Russia.kontinent mall 940x611Since then Art Playtime has been introducing PLAYTIME products to shopping center developers with much success. A second PLAYTIME playground will be installed in December at Detsky Mir, located in Lubianka Square, Moscow. The Detsky Mir soft playground has a space theme, including a four-meter-high Russian spaceship, asteroids and planes around it.

A third PLAYTIME playground will open in early 2015 at ZelenoPark shopping center in Moscow. Additionally, Oreshina reports that the ZelenoPark developer is already thinking about another play area for the new development.

kontinent mall3 940x627

“In addition to all of those projects, we are starting to work on playground designs for an IKEA Mega Malls in Moscow and we are working on a project with Hines Belaya Dacha Outlet Mall,” Oreshina.

The PLAYTIME/Art Playtime partnership has clearly been a success. Because Russian safety standards are quite different from U.S. safety protocols, Art Playtime is involved in everything from theme selection to fire tests, says Art Playtime Development Director Ekaterina Lermontova.

kontinent mall2 940x611

“Our main role is to coordinate the design of the play area, advise on the choice of theme for the client and then help to ship and install the playground,” says Lermontova. “We also help to secure all of the necessary product certifications because, in Russia, we have our own safety standards. We had to ship samples of materials, do the fire tests and collect a lot of paperwork to match the local requirements for safety.”

Grant Sonju, PLAYTIME’s Manager of International Business Development, says that the Russian market offers a unique, rewarding experience for PLAYTIME’s designers and manufacturers.

“We have all gotten to do new things thanks to this market opening up,” says Sonju. “From our artists to our installers, this has been a great experience for PLAYTIME.”

See the PLAYTIME installation video here.