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August 29, 2017

On 30 August, with the support of the ABLV Charitable Foundation, a children’s playground known as the Labyrinth was opened in Doma Square beside the cathedral. It was designed by sculptor Liene Mackus and actualized by the NGO Sineccura, in collaboration with Riga Cathedral. The new playground is freely accessible to both Rigans and visitors to the city, and serves as a functional and aesthetic environmental object. The project was implemented under the ABLV Charitable Foundation’s “New Riga” programme.

The project’s designer, sculptor Liene Mackus points out that it was no coincidence that the playground was named the “Labyrinth”. The sculptor was inspired by the lines of houses and streets once ingrained into the paving stones of Riga’s Doma Square, the patterns of which are reflected in the playground and form a historical, and at the same contemporary, labyrinth, prompting the playground’s visitors to view the world in a poetic and multi-faceted light. The Labyrinth’s structure is made from solid wood, but its main accents consist of five spatial bronze sculptures of animals, which are inspired by mythical medieval creatures. These five characters are the: unicorn, warrior, dragon, owl and cockerel. These were created by studying illustrations in medieval manuscripts, where similar - and similarly drawn - characters appear quite often. In designing the project, the sculptor collaborated with architects Ilze Rukmane-Poča, Andris Fersters, Modris Fersters and Gatis Grāvers.

Commenting on the project vision, NGO Sineccura Board Member Kristīne Tomsone said, “I am grateful to the project’s supporters and donors, as well as Riga Cathedral for its openness and responsiveness, in making it possible for the project to be fulfilled. With this meaningful project for Rigans, we want to encourage the entry of high-quality “small” architecture infused with art into the urban environment. This project will nurture the understanding of both children and adults about the essence of an aesthetic environment, art and architecture. A safe, modern and artistic playground is a good form in which to present information in a way that is physically and emotionally easy to perceive.”

The project’s organiser, the NGO Sineccura is grateful to the project’s main supporter ABLV Charitable Foundation, A/S Baltijas Tranzīta Serviss and SIA Clean R, as well as for the material support provided by the builder SIA Glass&Wood and the construction supervisor SIA Forma2.

““Children and Families” and the “Urban Environment” are important charitable realms for the ABLV Charitable Foundation and the Labyrinth playground chimes with both. Labyrinth is a contemporary and unique feature within Riga’s cultural environment, as well as being a modern and safe place for families with kids, where they can spend time together, nurturing their children’s imagination and cultivating their interest in the history of Riga Cathedral in an entertaining way. I hope that the first playground in the Old Town of Riga will inspire other Rigans to come up with new ideas for the territorial landscaping and development of Central Riga, which will be reflected next year in a large number of project applications under the “New Riga” programme,” explained Zanda Zilgalve, ABLV Charitable Foundation Board Chair.

In turn, one of the project’s biggest supporters, SIA Clean R Board Member Guntars Kokorevičs admitted that he was gratified by the fact that his company had this opportunity to financially support the development of such a unique project. “Our company is committed to a tidy, orderly and friendly environment, and we are pleased that our collaboration in this project has allowed us to look at the philosophy of Clean R from a much broader and deeper perspective.”

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