Playscape showcases ‘fun’ design

Alternative playgrounds offer potential for children's play.

“Playground design can be fun” was the message given to landscape architects who visited Playscape, a playground design by Groundwork West London that was showcased at EWx 2007, the External Works exhibition. The design breaks away from the traditional playground mould of bright colours and iron bars to feature mixed-level spaces and a combination of natural textures and sounds such as tree and shrub planting, decking, grass mounds, water, bridges and boulders. CABE Space, Play England, SureSet UK and B&Q were among the 20 “natural” playground’s sponsors — the largest exhibition space ever shown at NEC Birmingham. Designer Adam White, who first doodled the idea of Playscape on a beer mat, said: “Why does our approach to play space design continue to flatline with uninspirational playgrounds? Ask any landscape architect. They will tell you that playground design just isn’t fun. But they should be encouraged to experiment, work with neighbourhoods and design challenging play environments that will be a source of community pride and identity.” White believes this kind of design is also more fun and challenging for children because it better emulates the natural environment in which they like to play. Playscape is to go on display for a second time this year at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show before taking its home within a small community park near Groundwork West London’s offices in the London Borough of Ealing. * For further details, see www.groundwork-playscape.org.uk

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