You probably played ‘the floor is lava’ growing up. Perhaps even recently, since the game made a small comeback as a meme. Personally, I think the floor is lava is an awesome game. So awesome in fact, that I brought it to Eindhoven streets as a street art project (specifically at the Demer, the biggest shopping street in Eindhoven Center, in case you’re a local).
“De vloer is Lava! Wie op rood komt is af” (translation: The Floor is Lava! Whoever touches red is out)
The game is simple. The floor is lava. And obviously you can’t step on lava, because lava burns your feet. So instead, you need to find safe spots (a couch, chairs, whatever) to stand on and move over; in this case white spots painted on the pavement. The location is the perfect setting for the floor is lava: there are loads of potential players, and the street tiles are already red.
I came up with a few different concepts for playful street art interventions as an assignment for the municipality of Eindhoven. They are experimenting with ways to bring more play and movement to the streets in a fun way. They plan to renew the pavement in the city center, so now is the perfect time to try out different concepts and see what we can learn from those.
This concept in particular is great because of different reasons. First of all, you can easily play while you are on the move, making it more accessible to play than a game that requires you to stop what you were doing. It is easy to understand, and requires almost no skills. Also, for most people it’s something they connect with positive childhood memories. The street art intervention is so inviting that not only children play it, but also adults.
The floor is lava is live now since a few days, and the amount of people playing is beyond my expectations! It’s such an amazing feeling to see something that you created being used in the way you intended it. The joy, spontaneous playfulness (and sometimes awkwardness) is fun to witness.
Every now and then you even see an elderly person give it ago, and it makes my heart jump with joy. After all, one of my favourite quotes, is:
You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.
If you’re in/from Eindhoven: did you see and play the floor is lava already?
If you’re not a local: would you play the floor is lava if you’d stumble across it on the street?