‘The Learning Village’ Wins Montclair Design Week’s Ideas Competition

The Learning Village

Montclair, NJ — “The Learning Village,” by Collaboration55, is the winning selection for the second annual Montclair Design Week Ideas Competition. The Learning Village will be built and launched in the upcoming months, in partnership with Edgemont Montessori School PTA, on the grounds of Edgemont Montessori School.

Climbing the Walls

Honorable Mentions were also awarded, in two age categories, to Outside The Box by Montclair High School student Juniper Shelley (Rising, i.e. 14-18 year olds); and to Climbing The Walls by Montclair parent and designer Ruth Litman (Adult, i.e. 19 and older).

The competition brief asked creatives of all skills and ages to imagine a pop-up outdoor learning installation where children can socialize, mentor and engage with the outdoors in playful, hands-on ways. Ideas ranged in scale, from individual elements to modular systems that could grow and change shape.

Respondents to “Designs for Outdoor Learning” design competition were asked to address these COVID-19 concerns, with an open call for designs that consider community-based solutions over the emerging trend of learning pods, and to consider how inclusive designs for learning, exploration, and play can transform Montclair’s public spaces.

According to Lazlo Kovacs and Victoria Vuono of Collaboration55, “The Learning Village is a space for families to reconnect in an engaging and fun way. The system consists of a series of tents and a caddy. The tents are made of simple PVC pipes and connections, wrapped in a waterproof canvas. Each component is labeled so families can construct their own tent and organize their tents to accommodate a multitude of community events. The caddy can store 12 tents, as well as books and other activity materials for easy event set up. Once the event has ended, the caddy can be easily rolled into a storage space until the next event.”

“The Edgemont PTA and our chapter of the Roots and Shoots Environmental Club have been exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning for years now. So we were so happy to see outdoor learning as a centerpiece of this year’s Montclair Design Week competition,” said Selection Committee member Norrinda Brown Hayat, president of Edgemont Montessori School PTA, and a community partner. “Well beyond the pandemic, the design that was selected will facilitate our students’ learning outdoors.”

“Design is all around us – from our homes, parks and infrastructures, to the systems that influence our civic way of life,” says Petia Morozov, Founder and Executive Director of DesignShed. “The mission behind our Ideas Competition is to make the decision-making processes behind our designed world more equitable, by integrating citizen participation at every level of design.”

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