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Sutcliffe Play swing helps deliver fun to London art installation


A swing designed by play equipment specialist Sutcliffe Play will be enjoyed by commuters and visitors in London from its position within an unusual art installation.

After a brief stint away, the IFO (Identified Flying Object) is returning to its home at King’s Cross. The art installation will be based in Battle Bridge Place, between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations, for people to enjoy.  At night it will light up in a rainbow of colours.

The IFO, which was designed by French artist and architect Jacques Rival, is an installation from RELAY, the dedicated art programme at King’s Cross, curated by Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix. The IFO itself, often referred to as ‘the birdcage’, due to its domed, cage-like structure, is made up of huge bars standing 9m high, wide enough for visitors to walk through and enjoy the swing, which hangs at its centre. It first appeared at King’s Cross in 2011.

Sutcliffe Play was chosen to design the new swing for the structure, as swing play is an important part in the history of Sutcliffe Play. While the company started its life in the mining industry, the modern day Sutcliffe Play dates back to the early 1980s when the now Chairman, Robin Sutcliffe, joined the business and focus moved towards the development and production of rubber swing seats and safety surfacing. By the mid 1990s, Sutcliffe Play was established as a market leader in the design and production of swing seats, not just in the UK but across the world.

Andrew Love, Area Sales Manager for Sutcliffe Play, says: “We are very proud of Sutcliffe Play’s expertise when it comes to designing a wide range of swings – but the IFO swing is one of our more unusual projects! We’re delighted to have been able to contribute to such an exciting installation, which I’m sure will bring a great deal of enjoyment to visitors to King’s Cross.”

By day passers-by can play inside the structure, enjoying the surroundings from this unusual vantage point, but by night, the structure will come alive, as the bars of the cage illuminate in a brilliant array of colours. Whilst the IFO will primarily be based on the ground, on special occasions its eye-catching structure will be hoisted up into the air to hang freely and light up the night sky.

Photographs: John Sturrock

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