Train2Game News Urbanimals in Bristol


Watershed is delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 international Playable City Award,  Urbanimals, created by the  Laboratory for Architectural Experiments, LAX, based in Poland.

This September and October, a playful pack of wild beasts will appear in unexpected places across the city of Bristol, waiting for people to play with them. Take up the dolphin’s challenge to leap together, chase a shy rabbit down the pavement or skip with a cheeky kangaroo. Lurking behind city walls and hiding in dark corners, Urbanimals are eager to brighten the day. Triggered by people passing or stopping, this magically interactive project will be created using projectors and sensors and will stretch across the whole city.

Richard Roberts, one of the Judging panel, from Jason Bruges Studio said, “It was the fresh response to the brief, and the positive impact that these pieces could make to everyday city journeys that won me over.”

Urbanimals  by LAX was selected from 197 applications received from 60 countries around the world, and the installation will be unveiled in Bristol in September 2015. LAX are an experimental design team based in Poland, who describe themselves as practicing ‘at the edge of architecture’, testing the boundaries of urban planning, design, psychology and computation. They will now work with Watershed producers across the summer in Bristol to explore their ideas, developing the technology to bring their vision to life.

“Bringing people together through play in forgotten areas of the city lies at the heart of what we do”, say Ania and Sebastian from LAX, “with  Urbanimals we want to highlight the city’s hidden value and treasures inspiring residents to consider their environment in new and unexpected ways, we want to stimulate their senses and inject a sense of excitement and wonder into the everyday urban landscape.”

Clare Reddington, Executive Producer of the Award says, “ We are very much looking forward to working with Ania and Sebastian to bring  Urbanimals to life in unexpected and hidden corners of Bristol. We love the combination of imagination and sophistication that the idea offers and were impressed with their ambitious and playful response to the playable city theme.”

Miguel Sicart, play scholar and author of Play Matters (MIT Press)

“Urbanimals helps us rediscover the magic in the city; it gives us a fresh perspective on spaces we might ignore, we might forget, we might despise. Playable cities are instruments to give us back the sense of wonder and situate it in our daily lives.  Urbanimals is a great example of this appropriation of the urban space to remind us of its beauties and mysteries”.

Richard Roberts from Jason Bruges Studio continues,  “Urbanimals is a great piece because it proposes a series of unexpected installations which are delightfully fun and engaging. Its flexibility allows it to be deployed in areas of the city that would benefit from something startling, fresh and new. This proposal allows many levels of interaction from brief encounters by passive observers to active engagement over longer timeframes, and is open to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Follow the project as it develops at  |

Train2Game News Playable City Award 2015


Watershed is delighted to announce the call for submissions for the £30,000 Playable City Award 2015 is now open.

Creatives from around the world are invited to propose distinctive ideas that put people and play at the heart of the Future City.

All over the world governments and tech companies are investing in smart systems for cities, using communication networks and sensors to join up services, collect data and make efficiencies. The Playable City Award asks us to imagine how we might use these same technologies to make our cities more livable, hopeful and collaborative. The winning proposal will be installed in Bristol, UK for the public to play in autumn 2015.

The Playable City Award, which has captured significant global attention, is open to artists and creatives from all disciplines, from any country. As well as a £30,000 award, the commission offers practical support and generous access to facilities to enable the creators to realize their ideas. Whilst making their project, they will also become part of a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol – providing extensive opportunities for collaboration. The winners will also travel to Japan in Autumn 2015, to share their project as part of Watershed and British Council’s Playable City Tokyo programme.  The call for applications will remain open until 17:00 GMT on 7 April 2015 and a shortlist will be announced on 5 May 2015.

The Playable City Award was established by Watershed in 2013, and has so far received applications from countries including USA, Japan, China, Uganda, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil and Denmark. The first recipients of the award was design and research studio PAN, Tom Armitage and Gyorgyi Galik for their project Hello Lamp Post which received huge global attention and is currently installed in Austin, Texas as part of SXSW. Last year’s winner, Shadowing, created by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier has also gone on to secure international acclaim and is nominated in the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award.

The award winner will be judged by a panel of industry experts including Tom Uglow, Director of Google Creative Labs, Sydney, Copenhagen-based play researcher Miguel Sicart, Claire Doherty, Director of Situations, with more judges to be announced in the coming weeks. 

Clare Reddington, Creative Director of Watershed and Executive Producer of the Playable City Award, says, “The international interest in Playable City has been phenomenal, both in terms of applications and requests to host the work. The award celebrates and reflects everything that is interesting, innovative and collaborative about Bristol – and I can’t wait to select a new project to share with the city and the world.”