Making a difference by injecting art and design into sports courts

What is the quickest way to give a space a facelift? Use colours and design, says sports court designer Melissa Lo of One Space Wonder (OSW).

And that is what she did and are doing for the three Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) or People’s Housing Project that were selected to take part in the Sayangi Rumahku campaign organised jointly by, Paramount Property and Nippon Paint Malaysia.

The sports courts at two of the PPRs became the talk of the community after they were refurbished into artistic multi-functional courts, thanks to the campaign which enlisted the help of OSW for the transformation.

“OSW designs functional courts that bring people out of their homes and onto the sporting grounds. Furthermore, as former athletes themselves, the design team has an in-depth understanding of the court requirements. This is very much in line with our vision as well as our mission to support local talent. Hence, OSW has been a natural choice [for the job],” Paramount Property CEO Beh Chun Chong shares with

“Specifically, we chose to upgrade the sporting facilities to encourage a healthier and more active lifestyle amongst the residents, especially the youth. This is in line with Paramount’s vision of ‘changing lives and enriching communities for a better world’,” he adds.

“Some may think that painting [and refurbishing] the courts is an idealistic approach but the Sayangi Rumahku initiative has proven otherwise.

It is a campaign that resonates with what OSW has been set up to do,” Lo tells

Aimed to improve the lives of the B40 group, the Sayangi Rumahku campaign which was launched in July 2019 is an initiative to support the National Community Policy or Dasar Komuniti Negara (DKN) formulated by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

The three PPRs chosen for the sports court refurbishment were PPR Lembah Subang 1, PPR Seri Cempaka and Perumahan Awam Sri Kedah or Flat Sri Kedah.

In this public-private initiative, the key stakeholders also got the PPR residents to participate in the painting works together with the volunteers from Nippon Paint Malaysia, Paramount Property and

By doing so, not only did the residents feel proud to own one, it also brought out the kids who did not usually do sports to socialise around the area, maybe for a picture or two for Instagram too, quips Lo.

She adds that having an inviting place to play keeps the children off the streets and out of trouble.

“[The children] are the future generations that will help shape Malaysia. We cannot have them going astray,” she notes.

The design inspiration

As for the inspiration behind the court designs, Lo has wanted something with a touch of patriotism – something that represents Malaysia and is apparent upon first glance. That led to an obvious choice – the national flag, Jalur Gemilang.

“The colours – red, yellow, white and blue – are familiar to all Malaysians. Also, the facades on some PPR flats are painted with the same colour scheme too, hence the connection,” says Lo, adding that the white was replaced by grey,

“In my opinion, paint and colours are one of the most affordable ways to beautify a large space. I have taken the approach of using bright colours as the sports courts are supposed to channel the energy needed for sport games. Mild and pastel colours are nice too, but not suitable in this context,” notes Lo.

Besides the flag, the designs of the sports courts consist of dots and lines, with the former being her staple choice and the latter as a simplified version representing the waves at sea.

According to Lo, the designs utilise colour blocks and patterns that are not too complicated for the residents to eventually maintain themselves.

“For Sayangi Rumahku, I have also used a different design inspired by the weaving patterns found in traditional bamboo mat or ‘tikar’. I have taken interest in it lately and it is an object that tells a story. In my hometown in Sabah, different weave patterns tell a different story – varying from each ethnic group,” shares Lo.

Meanwhile, the campaign will continue with the refurbishment of the sports court at Flat Sri Kedah in Gombak Setia, Kuala Lumpur, where the outdoor badminton courts will be turned into one large multipurpose space that will provide the residents three badminton courts and a futsal court, as well as an event space.

After a delay brought on by Covid-19 and the implementation of the Movement Control Order, the courts at Flat Sri Kedah is now ready for painting works to begin on Sept 5, 2020 and are expected to be completed by the end of the month or easy maintenance purposes.

This story first appeared in the e-Pub on Sept 4, 2020. You can access back issues here.

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