John Puttick Associates won a competition to design a community playground and public artwork for Pirelli Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire in 2019. The circular park is located in a residential area sited on the grounds of the former Pirelli Cable Factory. The design takes its inspiration from the factory heritage of the site and also the park’s unusual circular geometry to create an environment that excites the imagination of children and is firmly rooted in its place.
The play structures take their form from the large scale cable reels seen in cable factories. These are scattered through the landscape at a range of sizes, creating a highly unusual and imaginative play environment. The circular form of the reels and other landscape elements also rhyme with the park itself and the geometry of the Pirelli Park Arch. The result feels as though the industrial equipment from the factory has been ‘left behind’ in the park to be taken-over and inhabited by children.
Some of the equipment encourages physical activity - for children to go into, up, over and through - while others give opportunities for quiet and imaginative play. The site is fully accessible with the playground accommodating children of all age groups and abilities. The structures are built from timber which provides in a sense of warmth that is suitable to the park setting, alongside a coloured landscape that was developed through consultation with local children.
The project was developed in collaboration with playground specialist Duncan & Grove and opened to the public in Spring 2021.
Photographs by Duncan & Grove.