If a meeting gets boring at a certain London office, or if someone just needs to take a break, employees head to their giant ball pit.
The creative agency Pearlfisher temporarily filled its gallery space with 81,000 white balls. “The idea was to create an interactive installation that promotes the power of play,” explains Karen Welman, the firm’s founding creative partner.
“It is well known that kids learn through play, but arguably as adults we don’t make enough time for it or neglect it altogether,” she says. “Jump In helps to promote the idea that play is also important in the work place, and that actually interspersing play into the working day is good for productivity as well as creativity.”
The exhibit is free for anyone to visit, but the company is also using it internally. “People have been having energizing plays in the morning before work and on breaks, and we have also been holding meetings and brainstorms in the balls,” Welman says. “Teams within many businesses are tasked with coming up with creative ideas on tap, but often the typical working environment isn’t conducive to this.”
It’s been so popular with the public that now it’s impossible to book time in the pit. Welman thinks that’s evidence that we need to rethink how adults unwind from the stress of work.
“Play provides emotional and physical outlets and this is just as necessary for adults as it is for kids,” she says. “Arguably adult play time does exist, it has just been re-branded as happy hour, or in the form of relaxation initiatives such as spas or sport. But this kind of release and relaxation can also be found in its purest form in simple and childlike playtime activities.”
For every visitor to the ball pit, the company donates £1 to the nonprofit Right to Play.