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work = love

playground is a boutique design and concept firm based in sunny San Diego. We are a full-service firm and work on a wide variety of projects, including restaurants, bars and hospitality projects as well as multi-family, mixed use projects and high-end residential design. Our firm is based on a multidisciplinary approach that informs our aesthetic, as well as our process. We are focused on human-centric design, creating immersive, nuanced spaces that are evocative, transformative and never ordinary. We consider our approach to be storytelling through design, creating cohesive narratives that span all corners of a space, building an authentic experience that is woven through each element. No detail is too small, no obstacle too big--we love it all and love helping our clients, friends and colleagues to make the world a more beautiful place to live, work, relax, connect, eat, drink or shop, one space at a time. 

the founders

Bradley Schnell

PRINCIPAL

Bradley Schnell is the principal and founder of playground. With a design sensibility defined by his bi-coastal aesthetic his work ranges from radical modernist structures to restaurants and luxe residential ranches.

Before earning his Masters in Architecture, Bradley worked on some of the nation's best known advertising and branding campaigns in LA. Bradley founded playground with an understanding that design functions best when it is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, merging branding and graphic design with building and interiors to create cohesive, seamless experiences. Bradley’s work runs the gamut from experimental to traditional, reflecting his background as an artist, historian and explorer. 

He is a reformed academic, a former collegiate athlete and always willing to debate the merits of social theory and design equity with anyone willing to listen. In his free time, you'll likely find him in the kitchen, preparing the most gorgeously plated food and cocktails. 

What you should try to accomplish is built meaning. So get close to meaning and build!
— Aldo van Eyck

kristine schnell

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

kristine schnell is the creative director and co-founder of playground. Enthralled with art, design and the built environment from a young age, she's known for designing elegant spaces with a unique edge. With a classical education in art, architecture and design, her love of beautiful details has taken her around the world in search of the exquisite, from the ruins of Greece to the rolling hills of Tuscany, exploring the markets of Mexico City to sourcing one-of-a-kind ceramics in southern China. As the chief creative vision behind both commercial and residential projects, Kristine brings an encyclopedic library of visual knowledge, blending classical styles with an equal sense of restraint and irreverence. An avid reader, kristine also enjoys writing about design, working as a contributor for Dwell and San Diego Home and Garden, among other industries publications. 

She is a voracious reader, a former ballerina and dreams in French when she’s had a very good day. When she’s not designing, you’ll find Kristine traveling the world in search of the exquisite, sipping rose in Sonoma or paddle boarding around San Diego’s beautiful bays. Adores champagne, fine leather goods and creating signature spaces.

I’m very much down to earth, just not this earth.
— Karl Lagerfeld