In Search of Contoured Playground

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - Sunday, February 2, 2020

Presented in Area 6 on the first floor, In Search of Contoured Playground provides visitors multiple ways to experience a never-built Noguchi playscape.

Isamu Noguchi first created the design for Contoured Playground in 1941, utilizing “earth modulations” to construct a compact landscape for freeform play. For this exhibition, developed in collaboration with architect Naomi Frangos, Contoured Playground is explored as theoretical architecture. The centerpiece of the installation will be a 10-foot-square enlargement of Noguchi’s model, featuring his original proposals for equipment (known from just one archival photograph). The exhibition will also include a 1:1 scale silhouette of the topography of Contoured Playground from the perspective of someone standing in the middle of the actual playground (had it been built), the bronze cast of the original model, and a number of other schematic interpretations of the overall plan.


Isamu Noguchi with plaster model for Contoured Playground (1941) and model for a jungle gym element for Ala Moana Park (c. 1940). The Noguchi Museum Archive. ©INFGM / ARS.