A utopia for chil­dren

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Leah Roberts

THE cen­tre of Fre­man­tle could be home to a stun­ning new play­ground for kids as part of the Kings Square devel­op­ment.

Freotopia is the sug­gested name for the playscape, which was show­cased in a draft con­cept at a com­mu­nity brief­ing last week at the Fre­man­tle Town Hall.

SeeDe­sign di­rec­tor Joel Barker said the brief was to cre­ate an ur­ban play ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We had to find a bal­ance to get what the chil­dren wanted and what the par­ents wanted,” he said. “In the playscape we broke it into the ‘kit of parts’ which have been in­spired by the ur­ban and in­dus­trial na­ture of Fre­man­tle’s his­tory.

“There will be cranes known as the di­nosaur cranes, con­tain­ers, a bridge to rep­re­sent the Stir­ling Bridge, train tracks, cot­tages, wa­ter play, ships and a jetty.

“Con­ven­tional play el­e­ments such as swings and slides will be in­te­grated into cus­tom play el­e­ments like climbable sea con­tain­ers.

“Mon­key bars, swings, wa­ter pumps and a mounded turf will fea­ture in Freotopia.

“A gath­er­ing area and trees will nes­tle the playscape as much as pos­si­ble and hold back kids from Queen Street.”

In ad­di­tion to the play equip­ment, Mr Barker said there would be art over­lays which will in­clude sound and light­ing.

“The playscape would have two dif­fer­ent types of light – bold lights on things like the trees, the cranes which are slow lin­ger­ing,” he said.

“On the lower plain lev­els there will be more dy­namic rapid fire lights which high­light dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

“We wanted to cre­ate a sculp­tural park at night in­stead of hav­ing a dead space.

“All of the de­sign­ers were keen to use sound ac­ti­va­tion.

“We would write a brief of what type of sounds we wanted and ask lo­cal mu­si­cians to pro­vide it. We wanted the sound­scape to in­ter­face with the light­ing to go through the site to re­ally ac­ti­vate it. There will be di­rec­tional speak­ers and it will be very sub­tle.”

Con­sul­ta­tion for the project in­cluded com­mu­nity groups, or­gan­i­sa­tions and 120 schoolaged chil­dren who take part in de­sign work­shops.

The de­sign will be part of a re­port that will in­clude all of Kings Square’s pub­lic spa­ces. It will go to coun­cil for ap­proval next month.

A draft con­cept of Freotopia, the new play­ground.

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