With a standard layout and plenty of surface area to work with, basketball courts are ripe for mesmerizing transformations that challenge our sense of the familiar. A berry-beautiful makeover. An astoundingly intricate bamboo roof to contrast with the sleek floors. Optical illusions that bring another dimension to the game, literally. These are all ways designers have reimagined the basketball court over the years. Below, take a closer look at these globe-trotting examples.
Artist Katrien Vanderlinden’s basketball court mural was inspired by children’s building blocks. The range of shapes, with bold colors channeling Memphis style, were intended to create not only a place for playing basketball, but also opportunities for children to make up their own games.
Kinloch Park, Missouri
Designed to reinvigorate a suburban St. Louis neighborhood, this project by artist William LaChance, in collaboration with non-profit organization Project Backboard, covers three adjacent courts with vibrant geometries and markings painted in white. LaChance calls it a “tapestry of color fields.”
Over on Rue Duperré in Paris’s Pigalle neighborhood, this court transformation is the latest result of a collaboration between fashion brand Pigalle and art direction firm Ill-Studio, which first began with a primary-color-filled makeover in 2015. Like its predecessor, this Monument Valley-esque iteration is just as trippy, looking as if a bucket of paint fell spectacularly from the sky and dripped all over an empty lot between a few old Parisian buildings.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Built for the Panyaden International School, this nearly 8,500-square-foot sports hall is a bit like a turtle shell on the outside but all bamboo masterpiece on the inside. Can you imagine playing ball under those mighty impressive prefab bamboo trusses spanning more than 55 feet?
This souped-up court, masterminded by Sicilian artist Gue, is one for the color-blocking fans. Here, vivid, refreshing shades of orange, yellow, blue, and gray are bounded by surreal curves. From the air, it looks like one giant mural that you can jump into.
New York, New York
Designed as a public intervention on the Lower East Side, this pair of graphic basketball court makeovers features the signature motifs of renowned artist Kaws. Look closer and you may recognize an abstracted Elmo-like character, which the artist has previously created for sculptures and toys.
Called Playground, this anamorphic design is the work of a group of urban artists going by the name “truly”. Beyond the display of fun colors, the striking court also changes depending on where you stand. At the right moments, you can see the words “growth” and “rhythm” emerge from the ground. Fun!