Play Pavilion

On Newcastle Quayside for NE1

This piece was a response to a brief to create an adaptable structure that could be used as a platform for various interative interventions in the future. We launched the piece with some simple button swings, but the piece is studded with mechanical fixing points so that we or other designers in the future and conceive of other creative adaptations in the future, based on the "framework" for design that we have provided.

The strucure employs a design based on "pulltruded" GRP (glass-reinforced-plastic) profiles. The columns and beams may look like typical steel construction members, however these are energy-intensive to produce, require specialised treatment for use outdoors, and are cumbersome to handle. The GRP profiles are lightweight, energy-efficient to produce, with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and easy to coat.

The pavilion is surrounded by other street furniture produced by Raskl, including our poular Dichroic Maze Seats, Swing Benches and rotating Egg Eeats. All of these pieces have been designed with a playful take on an industrial aesthetic, with the colours and shapes contrasting the tough, industial materials.

Southern Green provided the planting, contained within concrete manhole covers which have been decorated by local arist Bobzilla.

Here's a press release put out by client NE1 on the structure's launch:

"NE1 has unveiled its latest piece of interactive public art on Newcastle’s Quayside. Designed and constructed by Northeast art and architectural designers, Raskl, the Play Pavilion is an adaptable multi-functional structure that has been installed next to the Pitcher and Piano, directly opposite the Baltic on the Newcastle side of the Tyne.

16 meters wide by 7 meters long, the Play Pavilion launches as a huge frame equipped with 14 button swings, which are free and fun to use for people of all ages.

The new structure has been designed to work alongside NE1’s other Raskl-designed contemporary seating in the same location, creating a cohesive play and seating area. This is a welcome and well-used addition to the Quayside. The zone includes dichroic seating, pink metal double swing benches, and swivel seats which rotate through different colors when the sun goes down.

The Play Pavilion, the latest addition to this zone, has been designed to be bold, eye-catching, and practical, a versatile structure that can be adapted and augmented with various design features, changing its use and functionality throughout the year. The Play Pavilion will also offer a space and structure for collaborations with local artists, universities, and community groups.

The fun starts with the initial configuration of 14 button swings, positioned in two rows along the length of the Play Pavilion, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Ben Whitfield, Director of Communications at NE1 said: “We have one of the most iconic and beautiful waterfronts in the UK, if not Europe, and we have worked hard over the last few years to create clever, fun, and dramatic seating and structures for people to rest and enjoy the views.

"We’ve been delighted with the success of our frequent collaborations with Raskl and the park-like seating zone we have created. Raskl has unleashed their creativity with the Play Pavilion, and we are delighted with the results. It is a very recognizable and impactful addition to our interventions on the Quayside, all designed to bring interesting things for the public to see, do, and interact with in the public realm. It is also designed so we can change it frequently so families and visitors to Newcastle know that there will always be new things to do and see in the city, all year round.”

“Raskl are exactly what we always look for in a partner. Inventive, flexible, creative, and pragmatic, they are have national and international recognition for their work and they are here on our doorstep creating for NE1 and the city. We’re thrilled to work with them”

Dan Rose, Creative Director at Raskl said: "The team at Raskl is very proud to be involved with a public project so close to home, and we’re all really pleased to continue developing our relationship with NE1, who clearly work hard on improving our local urban environment. We know from past experience how enthusiastic the audience is with the interventions in this space and we look forward to seeing how people interact with the latest addition, and to see it brought to life with activity."