Play Modules Installed in Dowse Square

Author: Rachel Healy, Communications Manager
Play Modules are both practical and playful.

Dowse Square continues to evolve as a major attraction for Hutt residents as well as visitors to the region. Already home to the very popular artesian water taps, John Reynolds' two sculptural 'tree rooms' and host to the annual party Big Day Dowse, AnnMarie van Splunter's Play Modules will add another element – one that is both practical and playful. Play Modules are a series of undulating concrete forms measuring 15.5 metres by 5.5 metres. They will provide Dowse Square with creative seating as well as inspiration for play. Play Modules will be installed from Monday 22nd July and completed by the end of that week.

"We are excited to see the increasing use of Dowse Square and the civic hub that it provides for both organised and informal gatherings. The play modules will further contribute to the Square's reputation as a safe and vibrant place to hang out," says Matt Reid, General Manager of Hutt City Council's Community Services division.

Visitors to The Dowse exhibition Play: International Design For Children will remember seeing large images of van Splunter's Play Modules in situ at an Amsterdam school. They were among the many international playscapes featured in the show. Following huge public interest in Play, van Splunter was contacted for permission for the Square to host its own Play Modules, a request that was enthusiastically granted. Weta Workshop has created the moulds for Play Modules and the casting was done by Stahlton Engineered Concrete in Otaki.

In line with the exhibition's ethos of 'free play', the elongated concrete Play Modules offer a multitude of ways for people to interact with them – sitting, lying, sliding, reading a book, catching up with friends. For children, the configuration offers many possibilities for play - and the rest is left to their imagination.

AnnMarie van Splunter graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and works and lives in Amsterdam. A carpet of salt and plinths of sugar are examples of her temporary installations, as are a steel park-gate and glass floating on water. One of her playground designs, Rubbertree, is made of re-used car tyres, created for refugee children in Thailand. Images of her work can be seen on her website