The concept of ‘child-friendly cities’ has become current in recent years with international conferences and government policies arguing for intergenerational, family orientated public settings. Over the last 25 years Snug & Outdoor have worked closely with local communities, exploring the relationship of play and environment and developing ways of creating playful landscapes in urban settings. Here, Hattie Coppard, introduces three of their projects that illustrate different approaches to designing for multi-generational ‘child-friendly’ settings.
Gillett Square in Hackney, London, is a remarkable example of public, private and voluntary sectors coming together to create a flexible and child-friendly environment in the heart of a densely populated urban area. Following a series of play consultation events, our SNUG play equipment was purchased by the local authority and is housed in a container at the edge of the square. The SNUG equipment is brought out whenever children and adults want it – after school, at weekends and during holidays. There is no formal supervision, just parents, shoppers, stall-holders and coffee drinkers keeping an eye as toddlers, young children, teenagers and adults play and share this precious area of public space together.
Client: Hackney Co-operative Developments and Hackney Local Authority
SNUG play equipment is designed by Snug & Outdoor and manufactured by Sutcliffe Play
Our aim for Chimney Park, in the centre of the new Dublin Docklands Development was to create a playful ‘oasis’ for adults and children to use throughout the day. This is a place where office workers come to eat their lunch, parents bring young children to play, teenagers hang out with friends. Planting and landscaping shape and define the area, creating a distinct green space protected from the busy traffic and tall buildings that surround it. The problem of reduced light is tackled with a 26 metre ‘zig-zag mirror wall’, throwing kaleidoscopic light and reflections back into the park. Poems written by Chris Meade and local people during consultation workshops are engraved into the stone seating and walls that snake throughout the park.
Client: Dublin Docklands Development Agency
Project Team led by Snug & Outdoor and LDA Design
The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace in London is a unique and immersive play garden that has became an enormous popular success with over 75,000 visitors in its first three months of opening. Inspired by the myths and legends of the Tudor Court, the Magic Garden plays with notions of hierarchy, status and scale. Playfulness and ‘low tech magic’ are incorporated into every aspect of the scheme, with false perspectives, out of scale objects, giant anthropomorphic topiary, hidden tunnels, ‘mythic heraldic beasts’, forming the backdrop of a wondrous environment for children and families to engage with the history of the palace.
The Magic Garden won the 2017 Landscape Institute Award for Design for a Small Scale Development.
Project Team: Snug & Outdoor; Robert Myers Associates; Michael Barclay Partnership; Chapman BDSP; Spiers + Major; CgMs.
Snug & Outdoor is a multi-award winning company of artists who are at the forefront of play design that provides creative and welcoming play environments for all ages and abilities. Headed by sister and brother team Hattie and Tim Coppard, Snug & Outdoor enjoy collaborating with landscape architects, architects, engineers, poets and other specialists.