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03.01.2011 - Ausgabe: 6/2010

Curious creatures in Hamburg Climbing Forest


“We’re very happy to have been able to make this unique play area a reality for this district. There is no comparable combination of fun opportunities which are suitable for children and excellent art in the whole of Hamburg,” enthuses Dr. Jens Eickmeier, operator of the Hamburg climbing forest.

There have been curious creatures spotted in the Volksdorf Forest in Hamburg recently. They have gathered there to invite visitors to the forest to play together, run riot and spend time with them. “With the forest play area we have created a living place. Small and large wooden creatures, there to invite you to play, have settled in,” said Maren Pahnke. The creatures, which have been crafted by hand, combine to create a unique sculptural play area that inspires its young visitors to experience imaginative and shared fun. “Wood has a decisive role to play in the process. We used firewood from the region exclusively in the forest play area so that no trees needed to be felled. The wood should be experienced in its native setting to best highlight its unique strength, which is why the trunk remains maintained as a single piece. Oak is best suited for the task as this wood often grows and develops natural curves, which we highlight in the artistic creation. In handcrafted work, sculptured characters are created that, as a result of their individual traits conspire to be more than just toys. Despite their size, the creatures boast familiar, protective elements in their aesthetic appearance. Their non-naturalistic aesthetic appearance helps the creatures conjure up different associations so that young and old, and children and parents can develop different make-believe scenarios which can then be integrated into the game. Aside from the development of co-ordination skills, a child’s ability to participate in imaginative mutual play with others should be developed. The play equipment and the entire play area do not conform to a specific theme or have a particular goal in mind; they invite you to enjoy a creative and individual relationship with the forest and its creatures,” elaborated Pahnke.

The collaboration between the climbing forest and the artist group began over a year ago. At the time FlorianMars had already exhibited similar sculptures at the Dockville Festival for Music and Art, much to the delight of visitors. Since then their figures have also graced the Hamburg Gängeviertel district. Before the transformation of a forest play area could be achieved, however, there were additional factors to take into consideration: Above all else, the objects had to be safe. In addition, FlorianMars attached great importance in ensuring that the figures both excited the children’s imagination and developed their co-ordination skills. The protection of the environment also had a role to play. Only wood from the area that did not have to be chopped down specifically for the job was used. “We took the characteristics of the wood into consideration when creating the figures which has resulted in very individual sculptures,” explained Maren Pahnke from FlorianMars. The unique play area consists of 20 individual pieces which, when pieced together, produce a sandpit, a swing, a see-saw and balancing opportunities.

The forest play area is located directly in the heart of the Hamburg climbing forest and, of course, costs nothing to use.

About the Hamburg Climbing Forest

The Hamburg Climbing Forest is situated in Volksdorf on Meiendorfer Weg in the forest recreational area, only 200 metres from the “Meiendorfer Weg” underground station. Refreshments, snacks and drinks can be purchased from the adjacent kiosk. The Hamburg Climbing Forest is operated by INDOO Spielwerk Betriebs GmbH & Co. KG, Dr. Jens Eickmeier and Rolf Schwabe. The Hamburg Climbing Forest is open from March to October between the hours of 10am and 7pm each day.
More information is available online at www.kletterwald-hamburg.com.

Photos: Maren Pahnke (FlorianMars)

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