Handspring Design UK – We are delighted to introduce UK manufacturer Handspring Design.

We are the exclusive UK supplier for Handspring Design’s beautiful hand-made bespoke youth shelters. With over 20 years’ experience, they lead on designing and constructing customised timber forms. Their structures provide much needed shelter and seating in open public spaces, and when working to commission, can be designed to take on artistic sculptural and horticultural elements. Available for both public and private outside spaces, we can work with all landscape designs to develop dynamic shelters that are truly unique to that space.

They are perfect for city parks, country parks and gardens, leisure and visitor industries, courtyards and any business or outdoor space looking for beautifully crafted youth shelters.

To learn more about Handspring Design and how they build these high-quality structures, scroll down for more information.

Have some questions? We’re here to help! Call us on 0114 282 1283 or email us on info@allurban.co.uk 

Bespoke Youth Shelters

Handspring Design specialise in working with us and key stakeholders within landscaping projects to customise and tailor their designs to each client’s specific needs. Together, we understand that every outdoor space has a different factors for example history and community, all of which need to be considered and expressed to create authentic place-making. Handspring Design’s bespoke timber elements a tasteful and creative way of bringing these stories to life, and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew is a perfect example of this.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

The world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens Kew embarked on an ambitious design project to launch a giant new children’s playground, covering 10,000m² (a garden that is the size of nearly 40 tennis courts.) All Urban worked alongside Handspring Design and Kew Garden Designer to develop 3 bespoke hand-made structures which complimented the garden’s theme which was ‘elements that plants need to grow: earth, air, sun and water.’

Inspired by the circle, they worked together to craft her vision and create the colourful and fun structures for the garden. The Tunnel Hoop features red, orange and yellow coloured Perspex, which reflects different shades of coloured light for children to play with. Across the garden, a set of wooden Pergola Hoops have been installed to create a fun matrix for children to wind in and out of. Lastly the Fruit Hoop structure includes a circular metal frame that will eventually support growing plants to form a tunnel of foliage to explore.

The giant new Children’s Garden is now open to the public where children can play and explore their way through the Hoops, discovering hidden treasures and adventures all around the garden.

To find out more about creating your own bespoke shelter please call us on 0114 282 1283  or email us on info@allurban.co.uk

Standardised Youth Shelters

User and public safety lead designs

All of Handspring Design’s youth shelter designs include structures which have clear sight lines ensuring that passers-by can see who is inside the shelter and users can also see passers-by. The Tunnel Hoop is good example of how Perspex walls can be used to create translucent walls. The design of the youth shelters are typically open-plan which provides a temporary weather protection, rather than fully water-proofing which can create enclosed spaces which reduce public safety.

Youth Shelters created by unique timber steam-bending

Handspring Design specialise in using a special timber steam bending technique commonly used for creating interior furniture. They specialise in adapting this process to create large scale outdoor youth shelters. Steam-bending uses steam to soften the timber which gives them minutes to bend it into the desired shape which allows them to create their signature organic forms.

Sustainable materials

Handspring Design use Oak and Douglas Fir [or European Larch] because they can be UK sourced from sustainable sawmills. FSC timber Oak is used sparingly but improves with durability over time. All the curvy structures are made from oak, with flooring and seating typically being constructed from fresh sawn as they steam and glue these into shape.

When possible, Douglas Fir is used for larger projects, which grows well in the UK and is light, strong, relatively durable and easy to work.Both of these timbers turn silver with long term exposure to UV.

High-quality construction – fixings

Quality fixings can minimise long-term maintenance costs for public realm managers. Handspring Design design shelters which detail as many timber to timber joints as possible. This means they depend less on fixings which can become surfaces for water to sit in. Where needed, they use stainless steel for oak and galvanised steel for Douglas Fir as these are exceptionally resistance to rust.

Ground fixing

An important contributing factor to the youth shelter’s longevity is dependent on how the wooden structure is fixed to the ground. It’s generally best practice to keep the timber away from the ground by at least 200mm. This is the rain water ‘splash zone’. Handspring use galvanised steel flitch plates or box section ‘shoes’ to make the connection between timber and foundations, with drainage holes to let unwanted water escape. This minimises the risk of rotting.

Long-term durability against outdoor weathering

The youth shelters are designed to withstand years of harsh outdoor weathering. They avoid designing shelters with lots of flat, horizontal surfaces, which encourage rain water to sit in the fixings and on the surfaces, encouraging the wood to rot. Their designs include carefully thought out details which include slopes, angles and gaps ensuring that the rain water runs off and does not pool on the shelter.

About Handspring Design – Sustainability and Ethics

Based in Sheffield, their sustainable carpentry workshop is located in Ecclesall Woods and has been in business for over 20 years. This is where all of the outdoor youth shelters are made and are later flat packed and transported across the country to the construction site.

Creativity, sustainability and ethics run through the heart of everything they do. They scarcely use non-renewables, try to reuse materials wherever possible, use local labour, skills and suppliers and have bought all their employees bicycles to encourage greener transport.

Have some questions? We’re here to help! Call us on 0114 282 1283 or email us on info@allurban.co.uk 


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