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May 24, 2024

2LG repurposes vintage helter skelter to “harness nostalgia”

Stay Playful (When No One Feels Like Playing) is a sugary pink helter skelter, which has been repaired by interiors studio 2LG and placed in London’s Spa Fields park as an installation for Clerkenwell Design Week.

Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG studio created the helter skelter – a traditional British fairground ride – as a landmark for London’s annual Clerkenwell Design Week.

Stay Playful (When No One Feels Like Playing) is an installation by 2LG

Stay Playful (When No One Feels Like Playing) is comprised of a vintage structure that the duo temporarily hired from Aldershot, Hampshire, and repaired and painted in a striking shade of pink.

“It was important to us to use an existing helter skelter as we wanted to harness the nostalgia and the history contained in the piece as well as give new life to an existing structure,” the designers told Dezeen. “We settled on this one based on its traditional shape and how disruptive that felt for the setting of Clerkenwell.”

Pink vintage helter skelter by 2LG
The studio hired a vintage helter skelter

The helter skelter features the typical elements of a tall spiral slide winding around a lookout tower.

Cluroe and Whitehead wanted to reference the history of the recognisable British ride – something that resonates with them.

2LG studio peeking out of the pink-painted helter skelter
Cluroe and Whitehead wanted to reference the history of the recognisable British ride

“Jordan’s first-ever job was working on a helter skelter when he was 15, at the Black Country Living museum. He used to have to shout ‘see the fair from the air’ to entice visitors and we felt drawn to that phrase,” explained the designers.

The installation, which marks the studio’s 10th anniversary, was also designed to spark hope amidst daily troubling news headlines – hence its name, explained 2LG.

Vacuum-packed object in helter skelter
There is a “cabinet of curiosities” exhibition inside

Inside the helter skelter, the designers created a playful exhibition of “large-scale graphic stickers” made from suspended vacuum-packed objects retrieved from Whitehead’s grandmother’s home after she recently passed away.

“We had come up with the concept of making the inside a sort of cabinet of curiosities based on our childhoods, and as we were making the piece, my nan was suddenly taken ill after a fall,” explained Whitehead.

The exhibition is accompanied by a soundscape and spoken word piece that plays inside the helter skelter, which Whitehead created with composer Quentin Lachapele.

“It’s 10 years since we founded 2LG and we wanted to do something that was a celebration of our work so far but also a statement of what we want to bring going forward,” concluded the designers.

Installation by 2LG
Stay Playful (When No One Feels Like Playing) demonstrates what 2LG studio hopes “to bring going forward”

Based in southeast London, 2LG previously transformed a period house in Tooting into a colourful dwelling and renovated another home in Forest Hill with pastel-painted corniced ceilings.

The photography is courtesy of 2LG. 

Stay Playful (When No One Feels Like Playing) is on display in Spa Fields, Northampton Road, EC1R 0DF. Clerkenwell Design Week 2024 takes place from 21 to 23 May 2024 at various locations across London, UK.

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