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08.08.2012 - Ausgabe: 4/2012

Sams is up to something at the Garden Show

by Anna-Lena Wenger (brugger landschaftsarchitekten_stadtplaner_ökologen) and Tanja Potrykus (atelier spielträume)


The idea behind the concept for the park area takes up the theme of the former function of the disused ERBA cotton mill and explores the structure of woven textiles. The principle of networking will provide the overall guiding theme for the ERBA park and the execution of the 2012 Garden Show. An important component of the overall concept are the no less than five play areas of the Bamberg Garden Show.

“Really cool” – The Sams playgrounds at the Bamberg Garden Show 2012
Following a test run of the playgrounds at the Garden Show, opinions could hardly be better: “The playgrounds are really cool”, was how happy little 8-year-old Lucia from Class 3a of the Gangolfschule in Bamberg put it. Together with boys and girls from two other classes, she had tested the LGS playgrounds. For the design of the playgrounds Landesgartenschau Bamberg 2012 GmbH was able to obtain the services of the well-known Bamberg author Paul Maar, who was unable to resist being present at the great test run. His world-famous children’s book character “Sams” is up to something on the Garden Show grounds.

Concept of the play areas – The Sams story “Eine Woche voller Samstage” (A week of Saturdays)

It was the Büro Brugger’s idea to use the Sams days of the week as the basis for the playing points. The concept of the playgrounds builds on one of the best-known stories in German-language children’s literature. Almost every child remembers the story “Eine Woche voller Samstage” penned by Bamberg’s own Paul Maar. Mr. Taschenbier, a shy and rather inconspicuous office worker, enjoys the magnificent sunshine on Sunday. On Monday he visits his friend Mr. Mon, on Tuesday he is on duty as always, Wednesday brings the middle of the week, on Thursday a storm breaks out with thunder and lightning, on Friday he is surprised to get a day off and on Saturday he encounters Sams. Sams then ‘adopts’ him as his dad and causes a lot of confusion in his previously so peaceful life. Sams’ blue “freckles” turn out to be “wish freckles”, which Mr. Taschenbier can use to fulfil his wishes. The first Sams story finally ends with Sams leaving Mr. Taschenbier's world.

However, Mr. Taschenbier misses the unusual character with the red hair and blue freckles, the wish freckles. So he has been waiting since then for another such week to come along, which begins on a sunny Sunday and in which, after a Friday off, Sams will return to him.

Even children less keen on reading know Sams through the three films, large parts of which were shot in the historical old town of Bamberg. Town views of Bamberg often feature in the films and are easily recognised above all by the young.
The city of Bamberg offers “guided Sams tours” to the film locations for children and families.

The themes of the play areas build on the first story in the series and follow the sequence of weekdays across the grounds. The children can help Mr. Taschenbier make it through the week by recognising the themed days from Sunday to Saturday in the different play areas and thus finally bringing Sams back. A recurrent leitmotif is the blue wish freckle. As both a purely design element, but primarily a functional play element with a high level of recognition, it offers the children orientation and guides them through the individual playgrounds.

Main play area: Climbing frame at the Birkenhain

A competition was organised for the design of the main play area, the climbing frame at the Birkenhain, which was won by Tanja Potrykus and Thomas Gröhling of Atelier Spiel(t)räume. They developed an individual story for the playground. “Sams wanders around the deserted old Erba factory site and, rummaging through the premises, finds rolls of cloth and cotton spools. He takes these large rolls outside and rolls them over the grounds. In this way, the material unrolls. Sams wraps the cloth around tree trunks, looping it back and forth across the grounds. He wraps thread around the trunks and spins a big climbing web/frame between them. The cotton spool comes to a halt at the end of the climbing frame and Sams also leaves the other spools where they are before looking for something new to do”, says Tanja Potrykus.

The climbing frame has a fragmentary reticular structure. Different nets and swings as well as balancing and hanging ropes are hung inside it. The unrolled lengths of material undulate and meander across the ground. These are constructed from crooked locust tree trunks covered with panels of larch. The wrapping of the lengths of material around several tree trunks creates a climbing house. An undulating bridge rises to the entrance of the house. The 14-metre high climbing house consists of a number of levels, which can be reached via climbing nets and a net tunnel inside. At various points there are free areas in the external wall, which provide views over the grounds of the Garden Show. You can descend from the second and third levels by sliding down tubes.

Tanja Potrykus and Thomas Gröhling also designed and created the days of the week Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday as well as a sculpture of Mr. Taschenbier and the wishing machine. The Birkenhain play area contains the first days of the week to play on: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. With the aid of sun disks made from yellow Plexiglas, the children can make the sun shine on Sunday. The colourful reflections create shimmering light effects. On Monday Mr. Mon came to call: This weekday is symbolised by a revolving figure on which the children can cause Mr. Mon to appear. On Tuesday Mr. Taschenbier was on duty: As he works as an umbrella maker, this play point features swinging umbrella spokes.

Water playground in the fish way

To the south of the Birkenhain can be found one of the two water playgrounds. This is integrated into the fish way, which was created as a 'fish ladder’ as part of the Garden Show.
A peninsula is reached via stepping stones and a balancing rope. Here the children can intervene in the flow dynamics of the fish way and guide the water via different pumping stations into the water play area or hold it back by creating small dams, before it flows into a small sandy bay. Wednesday is represented here by a revolving column of letters.

At the Thursday stop there is a thunder box, a transom/mullion construction clad with larch slats. Thunder can be created with metal sheets mounted on movable metal rods.

Wishing Freckles playground

At the Wishing Freckles playground the blue freckles bulge out from the EPDM layer to create gentle hills and waves, which are especially suitable for the smallest children. They surround a small sand pit area and the wishing machine, which is used as an acoustic play element.
Wobbling basins integrated into the blue freckles help the children improve their balance. Alongside, a hammock invites them to relax. This symbolises Friday, because Mr. Taschenbier had that day off. This day of the week is also represented by a three-dimensional model of Bruno Taschenbier, who is resting in the story wall. Here the children can listen to Sams' adventures. It is constructed as a hollow box element with panels of weather-resistant laminated veneer timber.

Water playground at the old river channel

Saturday is finally reached at the water playground on the old river channel. There the children come upon Sams, who is already waiting on the riverbank. A slope slide made from stainless steel piping enables them to get to the play area quickly. By means of the parallel cables, which are mounted on sandstone blocks, the children can travel as fast as they can and move across the water under their own steam.

Sand pit play area

The sand pit play area, a kind of gulley, is intended as a quiet meeting point and located away from the circuit. Here the natural topography was left as it was and a jungle-like character was created by planting the slopes with bog rosemary. You can swing through the gulley on the big log swing, while stilts made from locust tree wood or the combination of hanging and balancing enable you to cross from slope to slope.

“I am very impressed”, says Paul Maar and is convinced that the children will have loads of fun at the Garden Show.


Design of the permanent facility
brugger landschaftsarchitekten_stadtplaner_ökologen
Deuringer Straße 5a 86551 Aichach
Tel.: 08251 – 8768 – 0, Fax: 08251 – 8768 – 88

atelier spielträume
Teufelsgraben 30,96049 Bamberg
Tel.: 0951-56040

Tanja Potrykus


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