Craig & Karl’s graphic Canary Wharf minigolf installation is a colourful addition to London's business district
We have your foreseeable summer months mapped out, and it involves a nine-hole course, immersive design, and realising how bad your golf swing is with Minigolf – open today for evening play.
- Liz Gorny
- 23 June 2022
Erected in the heart of an otherwise grey Canary Wharf and open until the end of September, Craig & Karl have once more let loose their colourful perspective on an unsuspecting public space. Minigolf, launched last month, sees the design duo turn to play like never before. Not only have they created a fully functional nine-hole golf course nestled in the heart of London’s business district, but the course holds playful resonance for Karl Maier. The artist and designer grew up regularly playing minigolf in his native Australia. And now, he brings it to his adopted city, London, in a whole new light.
So what can visitors who have yet to wander through Montgomery Square expect from the installation throughout the summer? Firstly, the game is free to play every day from 12-6 pm, but as a rare treat today (23 June), it is open for evening play for an after-work activity – a rarity that recurs once more on 22 September. The course features a neon orange jump ramp, pink and yellow chequered bridge and obstacles-cum-pop sculptures.
As for the optical experience, standing out remains the primary design aim behind Minigolf. The thoughtfully clashing graphics of the course have been conceived with grey days and the high-rise landscape in mind – when viewed from above or from neighbouring buildings, it reveals a symmetrical design. Balance is also a key aim. “Minigolf is pure joy and novelty, so we wanted to keep those aspects but approach it more design-oriented,” say Craig & Karl. “We want it to be fun but sophisticated too.” While every facet of the course is playable, surfaces, balls and scorecards have been treated with geometric patterns, citric polka dots and thick stripes.
It’s far from Craig & Karl’s first rodeo when it comes to transforming inert spaces into design playgrounds. From a three-level fragmented installation at the Siam Center, Bangkok to erecting large-scale, glow-in-the-dark inflatables in Seoul, the pair are masters at interrupting the mundane. On why they settled on the business setting of Canary Wharf though, the pair explains: “Perhaps precisely that. As a place most frequently associated with business, it’s maybe an unexpected backdrop for something some might suggest is comparatively frivolous, although not us. The coexistence of these two seemingly disparate worlds is quite special, though.”
Craig & Karl surmise their hopes for the summer: “With this project, we hope it brings a sense of surprise and delight and ultimately enhances the experience of playing the course. The element of surprise is one of the things we love about creating work for public spaces – encountering something in an unexpected context can make it quite powerful.” Take a detour on your way home from work and take a swing, or two, at Craig & Karl’s latest public work this evening!
GalleryCraig & Karl: Minigolf (Copyright © Craig & Karl, 2022)
Craig & Karl: Minigolf (Copyright © Craig & Karl, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.