florentijn hofman's oversized octopus forms an immersive playscape in shenzhen

florentijn hofman's oversized octopus forms an immersive playscape in shenzhen


in a new seaside development in shenzhen, china, a larger-than-life sized creature sits in the center of a public park. ‘kraken’ is the brainchild of dutch artist florentijn hofman and takes the shape of an oversized — yet friendly-faced — octopus. hofman is renowned for his scaled up animal sculptures, which have been spotted in cities from london to shanghai. for ‘kraken’, the artist collaborated with the shanghai team of UAP studio on the build of this enormous and immersive playscape.

florentijn hofman kraken
all images courtesy of UAP



commissioned by vanke group’s one city development, ‘kraken’ forms an engaging and inhabitable space for children and adults alike. the enormous figure’s quirky form subtly draws from history of the site, which — until recently — was occupied by a former soviet aircraft carrier-turned theme park. hofman worked closely alongside the team at UAP throughout the design, development, and fabrication of the project, investigating the materials required to bring ‘kraken’ to life. providing an imaginative space for families to explore, visitors enter the playscape through the character’s tentacles, where they climb through a netted abyss. upon arrival to the top, a large playable space awaits within ‘kraken’s’ rounded head.

florentijn hofman kraken
the playscape resides at a seaside development in shenzhen, china

florentijn hofman kraken
visitors enter the playscape through the octopus’ tentacles

florentijn hofman kraken
the larger-than-life sized creature sits at the center of a public park

florentijn hofman kraken
a netted ladder awaits within the tentacles

florentijn hofman kraken
a large playable area awaits within ‘kraken’s’ rounded head.

florentijn hofman kraken
hofman finds himself inside ‘kraken’s’ head

florentijn hofman kraken
hofman and UAP worked together throughout the design, development, and fabrication of the project

florentijn hofman kraken
the artist collaborated with the shanghai team of UAP studio on the build of the immersive playscape

sketches indicate the immersive nature of the playscape


project info:


artist: florentijn hofman
artwork title: kraken
project: vanke one city
location: shenzhen, china
client: vanke group
build: UAP
year: 2017

  • Where is it in Shenzhen? What is the name of the park?

    Teo says:

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