Bernhard Luginbühl, Brutalist Play Sculptor

Given the current penchant for hashtagged days of the week, I hereby declare this #PlaySculptureSaturday.  If Swiss sculptor Bernhard Luginbühl were working today he would be tagged as #steampunk, though he began making his iron contraptions long before that particular mash-up. Luginbühl’s works–mostly welded from massive pieces of industrial scrap–are dystopian, menacing, even hazardous.  But two works in particular are of note to play design.  He did a series of Zyklops, abstractions of the mythical monster, with jutting metal ribs which proved irresistible for climbing, including to a group of kids famously photographed clambering over the art when it was on exhibit in 1967.  At the same exhibition there was also a play house, the ‘Big Boss’, with a slide, which Luginbühl himself demonstrated for the cameras.  The Zyklop is still outside the Kunsthalle in Hamburg (unfettered by the addition of safety surfacing) and the Big Boss house, softened by vines, resides at a Botanic Garden in Munchenstein, though the slide has been lowered to half its original height.

Junk playgrounds…but in a very different way than Theodor Sørensen envisioned!

[period imagery via Gaby at architekturfuerkinder, contemporary imagery via wikimedia commons.]

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