Parsloes Park in Dagenham has been transformed into a colourful play haven to encourage children and young people to climb, hang out and play.
As part of the council’s ‘Becontree Forever’ programme of art, architecture and new infrastructure, which marked 100 years of the Becontree Estate last year, two playgrounds were commissioned in partnership with Create London. Through the council’s Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy fund, British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori and Irish sculptor, Eva Rothschild designed two new play areas for the park, part of a wider improvement to Parsloes Park, developing new infrastructure to support physical and recreational well-being for the local community.
With his signature use of vibrant colours and geometric patterns, Yinka Ilori has repurposed parts of an out-of-use playground to create ‘The Flamboyance of Flamingos’. The design imagines collaborative play for children of all ages, including the reintroduction of pink flamingos – who once inhabited the park – in the form of bouncy spring rockers and a circular seating area. A new basketball court is also introduced along with abstract structures to encourage alternative forms of play. Combining off-the-shelf play equipment with customised designs, these unique structures open possibilities for expanding the imaginations of children and adults alike. Year 4 pupils from local primary school, Richard Alibon, worked with Yinka and Create at design and play workshops last year, which helped shaped the design of the playground.
Part of our programme included these wonderful, commissioned playgrounds, which formed part of our wider improvement for Parsloes Park to have a dedicated space for children and young people to enjoy and play
Only a short distance away, Eva Rothschild has created a playground that caters to the abilities of older children, offering opportunities to stretch their physical capabilities. Part sculpture, part climbing frame, the two pyramid-shaped structures are constructed from geometric cubes, employing striking colours that draw upon Rothschild’s own palette with inspiration from the Italian, postmodern design group Memphis. This is completed by a slide for younger children and framed by new seating.
Cllr Darren Rodwell was confirmed as Leader of the council for the third time, and he has now named his Cabinet for the new administration. The announcements are all subject to formal ratification at Assembly on 25 May 2022.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Housing at Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Saima Ashraf said: “Here in Barking and Dagenham - a borough steeped in history, the Becontree estate is a major part of our heritage. Celebrating the centenary last year of the first homes being built on the Becontree was a momentous occasion for the community.
“Part of our programme included these wonderful, commissioned playgrounds, which formed part of our wider improvement for Parsloes Park to have a dedicated space for children and young people to enjoy and play.
“I want to thank Yinka and Eva for their vision and for creating not only beautiful structures but engaging places, for local people to use. And I’d also like to thank Create London for their work alongside the artists.”
Marie Bak Mortensen, Director, Create London said: “The ingenuity and sculptural qualities of these playgrounds truly encapsulates the belief that play can be the highest form of artistic research. I hope they inspire future commissioners of playgrounds to connect the creativity of world-class artists and designers with public spaces to enrich the lives of children and young people as seen in Barking & Dagenham.”