Decorative concrete seems to offer no limits to an artist's and contractor's creativity. Anything that can be imagined can be built. This project is a perfect example.
Inspired by a previous playground on the site that had been funded by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in 1906, this £1.7 million project includes some conventional equipment—swings, and slides—but also uses concrete to simulate a beach, a pirate ship, even starfish and shipwreck timbers in the “sand.” Captain Hook and his ticking crocodile must seem right around the next corner to children exploring The Mermaid's Fountain. Color consistency was important, as was durability in this freeze/thaw environment. Lazenby used sand-blasting to reveal aggregate and other miscellaneous items embedded in the concrete—things like worn glass, pebbles, coral, and shells. Footprints, fish, and wooden planks inlaid in the concrete appear to be freshly inlaid into the sandy beach. Diana often walked and jogged through Kensington Gardens, and this playground seems a fitting memorial to her memory.
- Designer and landscape architect: Land Use Consultants, London
- Creative artist: Mel Chantry, The Fountain Workshop
- Concrete contractor: E.J. Lazenby
- Color and admixtures: L.M. Scofield Company