Council is thrilled to share the news that Tasmanian artist Gary Cole, alongside the Urban Discovery Collective, will be developing the Penguin Playground Public Art installation.

As part of our commitment to bringing the community along on the journey, we are excited to share the design concepts and process so far. Please note, these designs have now been set and we are not seeking further ideas and or comments.

This fantastic new feature will not only form a visually appealing, additional play area for the space – it will also act as a barrier to the fence, in conjunction with other landscaping elements. 

Student engagement 

It’s been a collaborative, co-design partnership between artist Gary Cole and playground designers Urban Discovery. Students and teachers from the Penguin District School were also invited to participate in the project.

The students were aged 6-16 years old and participated in a full day of site analysis, investigation, inquiry, and goal setting. Significant themes emerged from this session, which were further developed throughout the day.

The 3 key elements identified by the students were: shelter, habitat, and forage play.  These have now formed the basis for the design concept. 

The design concept 

The concept of the sculpture is a spiral ‘nest’. It will combine traditional and modern fabrication techniques to create a playful community artwork which invites curiosity and play, while also simultaneously representing the dynamic history and environment of the Penguin region.

Inspired by environment 

The rusty patina of the installation draws inspiration from the surrounding rock formations and mimics the nest patterns of the unique Tasmanian species, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, which is now a threatened species.

The spiral is woven with foraged branches, vines, and grass, creating a ‘nest’ and providing shelter and respite from the elements. There will also be endemic flower climbers growing on the sculpture, which over time will create a secondary weave.

Inclusive Design 

The sculpture is accessible and inclusive in design. It will provide open ended and creative play opportunities for all members of our community using artistic methods to promote inquiry and knowledge sharing.

Timeline of project 

The fabrication process for the artwork will commence in late April 2024. It should take between 6 – 8 weeks to be completed, with installation occurring shortly after.

We hope the community will love this new addition to the Penguin Playground as much as the team and students have loved developing the concept.