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University for the Creative Arts

Sam Amer, Toko Andrews, Morgan Hone, Chris Johnson, Tyler Lemmon

The concept of play is often lost in a modern world that places a higher demand on results than on unstructured joy.

Adult play is associated with participation in games, which in turn have rules, regulations, winners and losers. This version of play can ebb away at participants’ feelings of joy and wellbeing, and is in complete contrast to how a child plays. Children play without structure, goals or organisation. They play for the sheer joy of the activity, a quality that is eroded as children grow and are taught that play must have boundaries.

This project aims to break this indoctrination by using child- like motifs to remind adults of the joy of unstructured play and give users of all ages a space to frolic.

Oxford Street is one of the busiest streets in the world, a perfect opportunity to spread the idea of formless play to as many people as possible. Landscapes reminiscent of children’s drawings, with bold, bright colours, over-scaled architectural follies and simple block treescapes, look to re-educate visitors on what play can mean. The follies and spaces within the project are free to be used for a multitude of activities, be it structured artistic displays or spontaneous visitor-led play. Pathways that bend and swerve and cable cars that rise high above offer an alternative means of travel and an opportunity for slower movement through the site.

Future Spaces Foundation research notes that the high street will eventually become more than a home to retail spaces. This project proposes turning the busiest high street in Europe into a home of play.