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.
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.
“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.
“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.