A new and innovative play space designed by the internationally recognised artist Shirazeh Houshiary and architect Pip Horne, will open at Gloucester Primary School in the London Borough of Southwark. The project has been developed as a collaboration between the arts organisations, Art for The World and Creative Partnerships and brings art, architecture, design and creativity directly to the lives of children.
LEADING ARTIST AND ARCHITECT DESIGN PLAYGROUND TO BRIGHTEN CHILDREN'S
PLAYTIME IN SOUTHWARK
A new and innovative play space designed by the internationally recognised artist Shirazeh Houshiary and architect Pip Horne, will open at Gloucester Primary School in the London Borough of Southwark on Thursday 16 September 2004. The project has been developed as a collaboration between the arts organisations, Art for The World and Creative Partnerships and brings art, architecture, design and creativity directly to the lives of children.
Fondly named the Sunlight Cube by the pupils of Gloucester Primary School the cube-like structure encompasses a five square metre steel frame with a suspended maze of fabric. Shirazeh Houshiary and Pip Horne describe the playground as 'a suspended cube of 'sunlight' filled with 'rays' of translucent yellow fabric that oscillate with wind, sunlight and child participation, animating the ground beneath it with playful shadows. It is a place of regeneration and optimism, of imagination and wonder, a framework for infinite play.'
Pupils and teachers at Gloucester Primary School have worked closely with the creative teams at every stage of the project. It has inspired many educational and creative activities across all parts of the curriculum including poetry, artworks, models, and a sound animation for the cube.
This special playground will also be open after school for the whole community to enjoy. It will be a significant addition to Southwark's changing environment which is noted for its innovative architecture and work by leading artists and designers. These include Will Alsop's award winning library in Peckham, and street furniture and features by Anthony Gormley, Tom Phillips and Zandra Rhodes in the Bellenden renewal area.
This initiative was conceived by Adelina von Furstenberg, President of Art for The World. Over 50 artists, architects and designers from around the globe were invited to create new playgrounds and educational toy projects to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in 2000. This design was chosen by a jury of children and adults and is the first of the playgrounds to be built in England. Others have been constructed in Armenia, Greece and India.
Adelina von Furstenberg, President of Art for The World says 'To play freely is one of the fundamental rights of a human being too often denied in many areas of the world. The power of play and creativity in enhancing imagination, confidence and lifelong learning is important for all children. I am thrilled that we are able to create such a magical space for play and creativity in London and hope to continue our programme to create more inspirational playgrounds in England and around the world,'
Mark Robertson, Creative Director of Creative Partnerships London South, says "pupils and teachers rarely get the chance to work with and alongside artists and practitioners of the calibre of Shirazeh Houshiary, and Pip Horne. What has impressed me most is the way that the whole school community has seized upon this opportunity to inspire and support their own creative work and demonstrate to us that there are always new ways that pupils, teachers and creative professionals can work and learn together."
Robert Worth, Headteacher, Gloucester Primary School, says ' The perception of a school playground is one of frenetic activity. The development of the Sunlight Cube has become a catalyst for aesthetic self reflection to promote creative thinking. This will act as an inspiration as we implement the government's new primary school strategy ,'Excellence and Enjoyment' '.
The playground has been conceived for Art for The World and has been generously supported by Creative Partnerships London South and the MA Creative Curating Course, Goldsmiths College, University of London and sponsored by The London Borough of Southwark, London Diversified Fund Management, Price & Myers and Sir Robert McAlpine, and Presence Switzerland.
Opening on Thursday 16 September 2004
FOR FURTHER PRESS INFORMATION & IMAGES PLEASE CONTACT
Aanal Chandaria, Communications
Caroline Oldland, Creative Partnerships
tel: 020 7357 0456
Art for the World is a non-governmental organization (NGO) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1995, for contemporary art serving humanitarian purposes. This project bringing artists, architects and designers together was part of the itinerant art exhibition Playgrounds & Toys 2000-2004. This initiative focuses on children and communities most in need of such opportunities and facilities. General Management and Co-ordination in London for this project: Victoria von Schulthess Preston.
Creative Partnerships is a UK government-funded programme that aims to give school children in areas throughout England the opportunity to develop their potential, their ambition, their creativity and imagination through sustainable partnerships with creative and cultural organizations, businesses and individuals. Creative Partnerships is currently working in 25 areas and has been given financial investment to roll out to a further 11 areas by 2006.
Southwark is notable for its thriving arts and cultural sector and for its fast changing environment and regeneration initiatives. Southwark Council recognises the importance of design and the built environment, not just in terms of aesthetic improvement, but also as a principle driver for social and economic change. In 2002 it won RIBA local authority of the year, and Peckham Library won the Sterling Prize for architecture. In 2004 it has won five civic trust awards for outstanding architecture and environmental design. Southwark Council supports arts programmes in schools and local communities to enhance opportunities for learning, leisure, cultural diversity and community wellbeing.
Gloucester Primary School in the London Borough of Southwark