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Sandringham playground’s bright new outlook

15 Jun 2020

For several years, the Sandringham community group SPiCE (Sandringham Project in Community Empowerment) had been lobbying for an upgrade of Sandringham reserve, which was a seldom used, bland park in the centre of the local shopping centre.

When they were finally granted funding, Dave Little and Claire Liesching from the Auckland Council design team proposed an artist-led approach to give the space a lift. Katy Wallace was asked to contribute thanks to her colourful design in vibrant Resene hues that spoke to the grassroots nature of the community. Thus, a bright, fun playground project with tables for dining, lighting and a small stage for performances was put into action.


The colourful tyre snake is painted in the fiery red of Resene Flash Point, the orange-based pink of Resene Mandy (for a current alternative use Resene Rapture) and the vibrant hue of Resene Chilean Fire.

Colour was a main feature in the design. Dave says, “we wanted the colours to be vibrant and distinctive, but not overly dominant or gaudy.” They chose a vibrant but sophisticated palette comprised of the bright tropical orange of Resene Chilean Fire, the persimmon pink of Resene Mandy (for a current alternative, use Resene Rapture), the lime green of Resene Bahia (for a current alternative, use Resene Dizzy Lizzy), the crisp clean yellow of Resene Witch Haze and the bold red of Resene Flash Point.


Resene Bahia (for a current alternative, use Resene Dizzy Lizzy), connects the colourful playground with the surrounding greenery.

“The bright pinks, oranges and yellows took inspiration from the vibrant colours found in the eateries that give the town character,” says Dave. “These are offset by more natural greens and yellow, which help to ground the colour scheme in the landscape.”


Fibreglass tablecloths clad the picnic tables in colours similar to Resene Resolution Blue (left) and Resene Concrete (right).

Wooden picnic tables were designed to look as though they had fabric tablecloths on their tops, where in fact the colourful designs are cleverly made from fibreglass. “The concrete ‘rugs’ under the tables also continue the colour theme, using patterning from the Pacific Island communities that are well represented in this area,” says Dave.


The playground comes alive with Resene Bahia (for a current alternative use Resene Dizzy Lizzy), Resene Witch Haze, Resene Mandy (for a current alternative use Resene Rapture), Resene Flash Point and Resene Chilean Fire.

Sandringham, formerly a swampy area, is notable for its cabbage trees. Dave says they have referenced this history in the kids’ picnic table, which features a cabbage trees flower sprayed in Resene All Black.

“We were aware in our colour choices that red is the colour most susceptible to fading outdoors, so we mixed this deliberately with pink tones to reduce the impact of this fading over time.”

Now, the playground is enjoyed by the community and the bright pops of colour have turned a previously empty area into an eye-catching local favourite.

images Dave Little