Rigamajig is a large-scale building kit for hands-on free play and learning. The collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope allows children to follow their curiosity through play.
Conceived and designed as a custom play feature for the High Line Park in New York City, the Rigamajig was developed by Cas Holman and Friends of the High Line in collaboration with Early Learning Educators, Woodworkers and Children. It was launched in 2011 as the High Line Children’s Workyard Kit and reflects the High Line’s industrial history, simple, honest materiality, and the organization’s dedication to creating meaningful play opportunities for children and families.
Since its debut, the Rigamajig has found its way into numerous schools, playgrounds, children’s museums, and backyards. The award-winning design is evolving and expanding as we learn from our pilot schools and playful friends.
National non-profit KaBOOM! has partnered with Heroes Will Rise to help give kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. Rigamajig is an ideal solution for all communities because it provides easily accessible, cognitively challenging play opportunities for children of any age in any environment. This partnership will allow KaBOOM! to promote active play in more communities across the nation so that we can give all children the opportunity to become happy, healthy, and successful adults. Visit the Rigamajig website for more info.
14th Street Y Early Education Center
The 14th St Y Movescape is a literal and conceptual platform for play and explorative learning. Working closely with the director and teachers at the Early Education Center, Cas Holman re-imagined the Y’s rooftop playground as a landscape for flexible use. The multi-tiered deck has slopes, curves, nooks and patterns in wood to inspire active imaginative play. By plugging vertical posts into the deck, children and teachers can transform the space into a stage, fort village, or field of patterned and colored forms creating play with light, shadow, reflection, and color. Seasonally these posts enable experiments with the elements at childs-eye level. A rain gauge, snow drift plates, icicle maker are a few examples of ways the Movescape can be activated by the curriculum in playful ways. Best of all, these “plug-in’s” can be invented, created, and tested by children with found materials.
Because of it’s prime location and coveted open-air space, the roof is also an asset to the Y as an event space. The new design will make gatherings, rooftop movie screenings, outdoor yoga, live performances, stargazing and lectures on the roof all the more exciting as either amphitheater or stage. Click here to find out more.
High Line Children’s Workyard Kit
Designed as a custom play feature for the High Line, this collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, “wingbolts” and rope allow children to follow their curiosity while playing. There are no wrong answers, and while the pieces can come together in the form of a structure used to convey buckets or materials, they can also become a giraffe, monster, robot, airplane or just a “thingy”. Here the act of playing and playing and building is the goal, not the finished product.
Developed in collaboration with Early Learning Educators and Friends of the High Line, the Workyard Kit reflects the High Line’s industrial history and simple, honest materiality.
Geemo was invented while Cas was pursuing her MFA at Cranbrook, and launched at the NY MoMA Design Store in 2007. It has since won numerous awards and shown in design and toy fairs in Moscow, Tokyo,Seoul, New York, Hamburg and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sold in Geemanisms of 5, Geemo’s flexible magnetic limbs grab and repel each other in unpredictable ways. As Geemo comes to life in your hands, you can build, discover, create, and imagine with this new species of toy.
Cas worked with factories in the US, China and ultimately Japan to bring Geemo to the market. Currently manufactured in a small factory in Tokyo, Geemo is distributed by Brooklyn Junior and Case, Japan.
LEGO Education + RISD Collabrative Research Project
In her role as Associate Professor at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Cas worked in collaboration with Nicole Merola (RISD Liberal Arts) and the strategic leadership at LEGO Education Denmark to run a year long research course involving more than 30 students. Graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines at RISD embarked on a critical imagining of the roles of analog and digital making in the future of American culture and education.
Cas was brought onto a team to re-imagine the archetypal playground and playground furniture. Worked with consultants from the playground equipment industry, early childhood educators, and advocates for play through multiple iterations of landscapes and fixed equipment. Ultimately was given charge of “loose parts” which became the large building blocks, a key feature. Managed design, testing, manufacturing by a Michigan factory, and relationships with consultant and NYC Parks Dept. collaborators through the project.
Imagination Playground in a Box
The large building blocks were an enormous success, and in an effort to simplify their use and find wider distribution, a mobile storage unit was designed to translate the playground into a “pop-up”. Worked with fabricators and NYC Parks Dept. to launch first kit in Brownsville Park, Brooklyn.
Cas was in the process of making gifts for her collaborators at Friends of the High Line when Areaware called up looking for new products. They saw the prototypes in Cas’ studio and convinced her to develop them as products instead. Inspired largely by building blocks (no surprise in Cas’ case) and the curious, chunky characters found in geometric shapes, these function.
The Lloyd Hotel
A design/build project, Cas worked on a team with Joep Van Lieshout and Principal Architect MVRDV, on the Cubicle Bathrooms for the Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam.
A design/build project, Cas worked on a team with Joep Van Lieshoutand Principal Architect MVRDV on the Music Room for the Lloyd Hotel,Amsterdam. The Music Room includes a vertical bathroom and curvedstaircase leading to a “family bed” that accommodates 12.
She is a full time faculty at RISD in the Industrial Design Department and recently relocated from Brooklyn to Hope, RI where she prototypes her playthings on five acres known as Camp Fun.
In The News
Cas Highlighted on Connected LearningConnected Learning Personal Stories are a growing collection of individuals, programs, organizations, and learning spaces that embrace many (or all) of connected learning’s principles. Check out the full story here.
Design and FailureCas is very happy to be included in this group of amazing people discussing the impact of failure in their work and lives.
“Designing for Play” Presentation at SVA MAIn October of 2015, Cas was asked to give a presentation at SVA MA on her design philosophy and methodology.
Clients and Collaborators
Gould Evans Architecture
Cas is working with Gould Evans Architects to imagine a STEAM space and open-ended playgrounds for the Milpitas California Public School District
The 14th Street Y Early Education Center
Liz Hirsch, director of the Early Education Center, reached out to Cas in 2013 to help them form a long term plan for renovating their rooftop playground. Through researching options for refurbishing, safety and maintenance, and balancing the organizations long and short term goals as well as budget constraints, they decided to demolish the old pipe and platform structure and build new. Cas designed a combination of custom and pre-manufactured elements to reinvent the 4,000 square foot rooftop.
Anji Play China
Ms Chen hired Cas as her designer for the extensive collection of over 150 materials used in this revolutionary pedagogy. The large scale loose parts are used outdoors, collaboratively, for 4 hours a day by children ages 2-5. The students configure and reconfigure their own playgrounds each day with large ladders, barrels, wooden blocks and tires. Cas first traveled throughout the region in 2015 visiting over a dozen of the Anji Play Schools in the Anji Province of China. She continues to hold Anji Play as the most ideal educational model for a future of independent, creative, self-assured citizens.
Anji Play International
A group of internationally renowned academics, play activists and educators led by Chelsea Bailey and Jesse Coffino are working to bring the Anji Play movement to the rest of the world. Cas works closely with the team to imagine what this will look like, and how it will happen.
Friends of the High Line
Cas continues to consult with Friends of the High Line, the non-profit organization that built and runs the High Line Park in NYC. She works with them on matters concerning play, design for families and the parks active and innovative programming. Click here for more info on the HighLine.
Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds
Cas has worked with New York Coalition for Play to bring form to the ideals of free play as a contributing designer, illustrator, and playworker. She is also a collaborator and ongoing design advisor for Pop Up Adventure Play. Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are free, public celebrations of child-directed play, stocked with loose parts (such as cardboard boxes, fabric, tape and string) and staffed by playworkers. An introductory version of the classic adventure playground model, they gently introduce themes of risk and freedom by welcoming people of all ages and abilities to play together.
Cas has participated in numerous “play” festivals including the Central Park Ultimate Block Party and the Governors Island Figment Festival, as well as developing a proposal for the South Lawn of the White House, as part of Michelle Obama’s Lets Move initiative.