Child’s Play by Matali Crasset

Just over a year ago, the former municipal mortuary at 104 de la rue d’Aubervilliers in the 19th arrondissement of Paris was transformed by Atelier Novembre into Centquatre, one of Europe’s largest artists-in-residence complexes.

There are no traces of what went on in the red-brick buildings before — coffin making, hearse repair and other such grim undertakings — it is now a place that exudes joy and play. Prolific and always fun Parisian designer Matali Crasset has now created a special 1,500-square-foot space for tiny artists as well. Maison des Petits (House of Little Ones) is an activity center for kids under six, where creativity and discovery are the only goals. Centquatre’s resident artists are encouraged to create toys and activities, but there is no set program.

Crasset’s colourful, surrealistic garden has a cozy and soft ‘navel’ at the centre for the littlest ones to crawl in and for older kids, whimsical ‘activity mushrooms’ and fun seats that look like gas cans or curling stones. – Tuija Seipell

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