Kyle Buchanan (Director) was invited by the Bloomsbury Festival, on two subsequent years, to produce a temporary installation that celebrates the sense of respite and otherworldliness experienced in Bloomsbury’s tranquil garden squares. The installations, The Hollow and Hanging Out in the Park, were installed for the weekend of the festival and needed to be able to withstand robust and playful engagement by the general public.
The Hollow allows a moment of reflection by encouraging visitors to recline and enjoy a tree canopy and the sky beyond, or indeed to experience the joy of bouncing around under dappled shade. The installation was fabricated by a bouncy-castle maker, and used the typically sturdy construction techniques of inflatables.
Hanging Out in the Park features an array of unusual tree swings in the form of household furniture, encouraging play, and bringing an element of domesticity to this usually formal square. The installation uses play (and the swing) as a vehicle for communal participation within the city. The array of swings in close proximity creates a spectacle of activity in the square, encouraging residents to rediscover a local park, whilst the intriguing motions and sounds of the event draw in passers by.
The installations proved hugely popular and were featured on BBC Radio and in Time Out London. Members of the public were able to rediscover their local park through the playful interventions, and we also managed to keep the Camden Parks tree surgeons happy.
In both installations special care and attention had to be given to protecting the bark and trunk of the tree. For the installation of the Hanging Out in the Park, we developed a bespoke ‘tree protector’ to prevent the rope of the swings from cutting into the branches, avoiding potentially fatal damage to the tree.