If “The Floor Is Lava” were a proper, legit game (not with real lava of course), I imagine it would look exactly like the Magma Flow park in Ningbo, China. Designed by 100 Architects, a Shanghai-based outfit specializing in combining street art with landscaping and urban intervention, the Magma Flow adds a brilliant pop of color to an otherwise concrete-themed neighborhood. The design of the park as well as the color themes take direct inspiration from the flow of magma from a volcano. The park’s floor is colored with red, orange, and yellow pathways that intersect and ebb and flow in organic shapes, like liquid magma, creating the kind of dynamism that just makes parks so much more fun than a simple slide, swing, and sand-pit. The park sits at 1,350 square meters in the second-most populous city in Zhejiang Province, with a population of 3.9 million people.
Designer: 100 Architects
The park adds a pop of vibrancy to the neighborhood, grabbing your attention from even afar, and boosting your energy as you walk past. It features spaces for children to play in as well as for adults to lounge in, with accessibility kept in mind too, thanks to the use of ramps. The Magma Flow is what 100 Architects call a “neighborhood intervention”, or a space that impacts not only the immediate surrounding urban environment, but rather the urban dynamics of a whole neighborhood, becoming an urban landmark and a local attractor of social interactions in a given neighborhood.
The park’s design is wonderfully age-agnostic, with places that children, as well as adults, can congregate and enjoy. You’ve got the conventional swing, slide, seesaw, and merry-go-round, but there’s even a jogging trail for adults, coupled with an obstacle course that’s timeless, and lounging areas from which parents can sit and observe their kids.
The park feels like an explosion of color – an approach that 100 Architects is known almost too well for with their work. Their Lollypop Street in Shanghai, and Octopus Kingdom in Shenzhen follow a similar, vibrant color palette, turning urban spaces into visual fantasies that engage the senses.
The park comes to life at night, with ample lighting to ensure that people can have fun and congregate post-sunset too. Shaded areas protect people from the sun during the day, but provide a nice canopy at night with lighting, that also shelters people during the rain. Scroll to the bottom to see a complete layout of the park, which even includes two amphitheaters for all sorts of performance arts.