Bambini Holistic Childcare Centre, St. Albert, AB

Studio Anva, Stockholm, Sweden

Photography by Alyssa Anselmo 

Designer Alyssa Anselmo was approached by a client with a project brief inflected by some very specific desires: incorporate a Reggio Emilia philosophy – a student-centred self-guided curriculum that uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments – with an emphasis on strong biophilic design motifs. The results certainly check all those boxes. This 10,000-sq.-ft. open concept childcare centre has high ceilings with loads of natural lighting and materials. Eight individual classrooms are connected to a central piazza via their own “pony swing doors,” designed such that the children will always be able to interact with the full space. Within the piazza, rice paper shades of different sizes are hung at different heights to give a “grand, magical” perspective to the children, exaggerated even more by a giant eight-foot-long cloud hanging above a sunken conversation pit. Over 1,000 wooden birch slats separated by a cream-coloured negative space created by the wall behind it surround the pit, and the concrete floor has been heavily grinded to make the aggregate resemble a rocky beach.