Natural Pod is unlike any other toy or play equipment company. As natural play experts and the leading designer and manufacturer of quality natural children’s toys and furniture, we offer you customized play environments that support creative and imaginative open-ended play. We work with you – educators, families, architects – to create an enriching learning environment that is tailored to your needs. Nothing here is ‘cookie cutter’.
Whether it’s to give a major overhaul to a play space/classroom or enhance your current play space, we work with you every step of the way. One of our unique attributes is our design process.
Natural Pod co-founder and designer of play Allan Alomes is an architect and in charge of the design process. From his Vancouver Island office, he recently offered some insight into the Natural Pod design process.
“Initially we develop an understanding of what the client’s needs are. What things they want to achieve with the educational program and how they want the children engaged within it.”
During this time, Allan will look at your current physical space as “every space is unique.” Initially, your space may have some constraints and in need of an over haul, or you want to transform a space or simply have a blank space waiting for a vision. This stage is about formalizing and clearly articulating the goals and vision for all parties involved.
Once you have articulated what you are trying to achieve, Natural Pod will gather research and information. We may meet with you in person for group discussions, observe the play space/classroom, and so on. Once we have an understanding of your budget, “we work within the budget when designing,” Allan explains.
A brief that highlights all the project requirements and articulates what you are trying to achieve is then presented to you. We’ll identify the inevitable benefits and of equal importance is how success can be gauged.
Allan then works his magic to create a sketch that allows you to see the overall vision for your space.
“I try to take what [the clients] imagine and transform this into physical form. The design process is all about helping people visualize what the space may look like and what is possible,” he says.
This provides you with the perfect tools that depending on your situation, can then be presented to your stakeholders, board members, or parents if funding is required. Once given the green light, you are taken through the next stage and presented with a project time line and further project details.
Unlike other companies that leave a lot in the hands of end users, Natural Pod works with you every step of the way to set up your learning environment.
“We come in and we really customize the design to what you are trying to achieve,” Allan says. “It is for the client and ultimately for the end user –the children. It’s very important that the client is involved and listened too. By them seeing their vision take shape they take ownership and are more empowered to achieve the ultimate goal….”
As you can see, Natural Pod’s designs feature organic curves and are simple yet highly functional. Allan’s inspiration comes from nature.
“I take a concept and make it simple, natural and functional… Keeping a modern touch to it but still be natural and organic,” Allan says.
And it’s that uniqueness in product and playroom design and working with customers every step of the way that makes Natural Pod an ideal fit for those sharing a common goal: enriching children through natural play.