Anamorphic Playground

Anamorphic Playground is a permanent outdoor playground at Eleanor Palmer Primary School. The playground plays with perspective and visual distortion, inspired by the history of anamorphic art.


The Anamorphic Playground consists of a series of three-dimensional objects that surround cylindrical and conical mirrors. A seesaw and a slide are designed to look completely normal in the mirror. As a result, their forms are distorted in reality.

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When a child or adult starts interacting with the playground, reality seems to switch. The objects look perfectly rectangular and "normal" in the mirror, but the person is deformed. On the slide for instance, the person will appear very thin at the top, and stubby at the bottom. The seesaw appears straight in the mirror when in balance but starts visually bending once it is going up and down.


The playground pieces are made from stainless steel, fabricated in Harlow by Fish Fabrications. The stainless structures are unpainted and have a bead blasted satin finish. The slide surface is mill finished, and the stainless steel mirrors are mirror polished. The sides and steps of the slide, and the top surface of the seesaw are made of blue and yellow HDPE sheet. In order to make the play pieces look normal in the mirrors, Unit Lab used geometric rules to define the shapes, adhering to a grid of concentric circles. The grid pattern can also be seen on the soft play surface on the ground.

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The Anamorphic Playground was commissioned by Eleanor Palmer Primary School in Kentish Town, London. The playground is part of Eleanor Palmer Primary School’s new science lab designed by AY architects, which also includes a bicycle powered disco shed built by Electric Pedals.