After the re-unification of Germany in 1990, there was a great need of infra structure improvements in the eastern regions. The development of playgrounds and play environments for children was essential. Seizing this demand, Juergen Schilling and Joern Schaefer founded Spiel-Bau GmbH and were immediately successful with their innovative designs of playground equipment. Since then, Spiel-Bau has developed into a world renowned design and manufacturing company. From creative climbing structures to play houses, slides, net climbers, calisthenics courses, glockenspiels to sand and water systems, the company’s products are remarkably eclectic. We recently caught up with their design team to learn about their approach.
“Mikadoanlage,” Neumünster, Germany | photo courtesy Spiel-Bau
1. When designing a playground for children you place special emphasis on a child friendly environment. Tell us about some of the ways your products achieve this.
Spiel-Bau develops new playground concepts and ideas in their own design studio- The Creative Atelier- with the involvement of designers, educators and engineers, and work with landscape architects and customers to create impressive play environments for children.
2. Since 1993 you have been using stainless steel posts. How did your development of these posts reshape the playground industry?
We take great care that our play equipment is easy to maintain and that it is very durable. That’s why we introduced stainless steel posts. They do not – unlike wooden posts – rot, do not split and do not change color or shape. This contributes to structural strength, safety, and longevity, as well as reduced maintenance costs. The stainless steel posts, in combination with wooden platforms and rails, are visually very appealing. It is important to us that all surfaces that children touch are made of wood to provide a comfortable natural play environment for all seasons.
Gu’an Center Park, China | photo courtesy Spiel-Bau
3. What wood do you use?
We use Robinia for all wooden elements. This wood is naturally resistant to insect attack and rot, without having to be treated with chemicals. It comes with a warranty to last for approximately 10 to 15 years. Upon special request, we also use untreated Douglas Fir that is warranted for only 5 years. We are currently working on the development of a wood substitute material suitable for the use in playgrounds. Some new composite materials seem to be appropriate. We have scheduled the introduction of wood substitutes for the year 2019. With that change we will be able to supply termite and rot resistant playground equipment without falling into the plastic equipment category. For all of our equipment we use environmentally responsible materials that are 100% recyclable.
4. Is your customer base growing in North America?
We have in most countries sales representatives who can also service our equipment locally. Our customer base in North America is increasing successfully with Goric as our exclusive sales and service organization. The first very inspiring deliveries have been made this year to Boston.
Fraser’s Landing, Perth, Australia | photo courtesy Spiel-Bau
5. Fraser’s Landing is a very cool structure. Who designed it? Can you tell us about the play opportunities it provides?
Fraser’s Landing was developed by our designer, together with architects from Perth, Australia. Contact and support on site was provided by our representative LARK Industries. The best playground designs are those in which the playground equipment offers many different possibilities where children can develop their own ideas while playing. Fraser’s Landing has proven to be extremely successful.
Several comparable examples are show on our web site www.spiel-bau.de or at www.goric.com
6. What distinguishes Spiel-Bau from other playground companies?
We try to avoid building the same structures over and over again. Every playground we build is customized and unique to suit the individual site and requirements.