Play in Plymouth: soft play in Britain’s Ocean City

Virtual Tour

The client

Normally a client will reach out to us or we would reach out to a client. This project first got presented to us by “Mummy McAllister”, the Mum of one of our designers, who always had a Play Company brochure in the car just in case she could help her son create a new play area.

It is said that “parents always know best” and this proved to be the case when she heard that YMCA Plymouth wanted to create a new soft play area.

YMCA Plymouth is a local education, health and families charity, helping young people and their community to belong, contribute and thrive. They opened their current facility in 1974 and over the last 5 years, have been able to invest into the centre to provide the support and needs for the modern-day community.

The challenge

When we first spoke to Tom, the CEO for YMCA Plymouth, he had a unique vision for their soft play area. As opposed to theming their play area around a traditional style like space, jungles or pirates, he wanted to offer a soft play that reflected the community they serve and wanted this unique play frame to be themed around Plymouth itself and its status as Britain’s Ocean City.

With Plymouth being our local city (only 20 miles from our factory), we had a slight edge in interpreting this brief but with so many options to choose from, finding the right combination was key.

The site was also a tricky space to work within. When we first visited, the space was 5 separate rooms so completing an initial site survey was impossible so we needed to work hand in hand with the contractors developing the space to ensure our design would fit and work around the remedial work being done.

What we did

To create a truly original design for our client present a unique challenge that we couldn’t wait to tackle. Plymouth has a rich and diverse maritime history from the Mayflower steps (where the Pilgrims left for the Americas in 1620) through to the creation of the UK’s first National Marine Park in 2019 and we needed to encapsulate this alongside artwork and local theming that would be instantly recognisable to those visit the YMCA.

We worked alongside Tom to identify these keys features and set about reflecting these landmarks in both the artwork and the features of the frame.

The result

We can confidently say that there is no other play area in world quite like it!!

Throughout this soft play frame, there are nods and references to all the features that make up Britain’s Ocean City. Slide into Tinside Lido, visit the Barbican harbour, cross the Brunel Bridge or explore Plymouth Hoe with its Lighthouse themed bash bags, this frame has it all.

The entire baby area is themed around Plymouth Sound including fishing boat shapes and a Drakes Island Step’n’Slide with themed artwork providing the back drop.

This might not be the biggest of frames nor packed full of electronics and gamification but it has been one of the most fun to be a part of designing and demonstrates the true versatility of soft play to create something new, something unique and something memorable for the local community.

Which one of these best describes you?

Contact us

To talk to us about your new play area, just give us a call on 01548 521197.

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