The design of SNUG developed out of Snug & Outdoor's Experimental Playground Projects. These events typically lasted one or two weeks in school playgrounds, parks and high streets. They demonstrated how flexible environments could lead to profound changes in the behaviour of children and adults and formed the basis for the design of the SNUG playground kit.
Funding from NESTA, Arts Council and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation enabled Snug & Outdoor to collaborate with the University of the Arts, the Institute of Education and mainstream and special schools. We spent two years thoroughly researching, designing and prototyping a range of shapes that could become an 'experimental playground kit'. Through a process of testing and evaluation, 49 different shapes were whittled down to the 9 that now make up the SNUG kit.
We realised the need to work closely with a manufacturer and joined forces with Sutcliffe Play. They conducted extensive research into possible materials and manufacturing methods and eventually SNUG was produced using a combination of techniques that enable it to be both soft to the touch and tough enough to withstand the roughest playground.
SNUG was launched in London in November 2007, and since then we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from schools who have found that Snug encourages creativity, communication, interaction, imagination, physical exercise as well as a broad spectrum of playfulness.
Snug has recently won the prestigious KIDS Design Award in Japan, and has been acquired by both the Chicago Children's Museum and Eureka! the UK's national children's museum.
A recent longitudinal study by Dr Fraser Brown at Leeds Metropolitan University, looked at the affect of SNUG on play in two schools in Yorkshire. It concluded:
'It is clear from the play value assessments that the inherent flexibility of the design stimulates the imagination of the children in numerous ways. Over the whole period of the study there appeared to be no waning of the impact of Snug. It offered the same degree of fun, freedom and flexibility at the end of nine months as it did the day it was first installed.'
In 2010 SNUG was launched in the USA by PLAYCORE