Puckelball Pitch (the world’s first!) Johan Strom, Malmö, Sweden, 2009


The world’s first Puckelball pitch is in use in Malmö, Sweden, a city notable for its commitment to  creating new social spaces that encourage its residents to interact outdoors.

Also called ‘Mogul ball’ for its resemblance to the moguls on ski runs, the puckelball pitch (made of artificial turf) is a protected design concept by artist Johan Strom, who thinks of it as a metaphor for life:

“Many live under the belief that life is a fair playing field, that both pitch halves are just as big and the goal always has at least one cross. But ultimately the ball never bounces exactly where you want it to and the pitch is both bumpy and uneven.”

As one of those uncoordinated kids that was always picked last for team sports, I would have loved playing in a setting in which “the pitch’s irregularities neutralise the players’ skills. It is not at all certain that the best football player is also the greatest puckelball hero. If the ball doesn’t bounce where you think it will everybody has a chance.”

The unevenness of the field is intended to invite more imaginative ways to play, and to encourage play between girls and boys, old and young, skilled against unskilled, on equal footings, challenging the physical elitism inherent in most sporting activities.  But serious footballers find it useful, too…for practice in responding to unpredictability.

How much do you want a puckelball pitch in your hometown?  Yeah, me too.  Let’s start a movement.

(Malmö has more exemplary playscapes…watch for them in future posts!)

UPDATES:  see also photos of the puckelball field construction by Bo Johnsson and a video about puckelball by the municipality of Malmo.

3 Responses to “Puckelball Pitch (the world’s first!) Johan Strom, Malmö, Sweden, 2009”

  1. Bryant said:

    Interesting; sort of like an adult's simplified version of Calvinball.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:06 am

  2. SlavKO said:

    Love the idea… The concept in flawed exponentially however. Competitors with skill/talent will be that much better that those with none.

    January 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  3. Michelle said:

    Wow! I love it so much that I had to share it with my coworkers. I had just been thinking recently that nobody invents new sports or varies the old ones the way that is done with computer and other small games. It's just impossible to convince large groups of people to form teams. 🙂

    January 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

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