A spectacular new natural stone and water landscape was unveiled in the heart of central London today. Elephant Springs boasts waterfalls, undulating slides, sandy bays and ambient lighting within a towering stone structure set in Elephant Park, one of Zone One’s newest green spaces.
Renowned landscape architects, Gillespies, spearheaded the design of Elephant Springs, in collaboration with artist Mel Chantrey of The Fountain Workshop, who previously designed the waterscape for the Diana, Princess of Wales, memorial playground. Inspired by the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors with nature, Elephant Springs brings a natural play experience for both children and adults within the heart of Elephant & Castle.
A sculptural work of art in itself, Elephant Springs features rocky mounds over two metres high, covering an area of 420sq metres and is constructed entirely from 600 colourful porphyry stone slabs, sourced from a quarry in the Albiano region of Italy. Water naturally bubbles up from Elephant Springs’ rock formations and the stones blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.
‘Village’ pumps, cascading water channels and motion activated water jets, provide active, fun and educational experiences. With carefully arranged stone formations, hand laid by a family of stonemasons, the space has been purposefully designed to provide a multifunctional and accessible experience for every visitor, and has been fitted with seating perches and wheelchair ramps. As a day to night destination, Elephant Springs will be lit by dappled lighting as the sun sets, enhancing reflections of the waterfalls and sculptural effects of the space well into the evening.
As London welcomes visitors back and residents look forward to the summer months, Elephant Springs will provide a new meeting point for families and friends to be together and reconnect once again. Nestled amongst the mature trees that are integral to the brand new two-acre park, this special spot in the heart of London offers a place of rest, relaxation, play and delight for all.
Lendlease’s Project Director for Elephant Park, Kristy Lansdown, said: “We are all aware that forming connections with nature is hugely beneficial for people’s mental and physical wellbeing. We wanted to create somewhere, in the heart of London’s zone one urban environment, which enabled people to step back from their busy lives, to play and to relax. The space has been inspired by feedback from the community and our commitment to sustainable outcomes to create a unique natural environment that will delight people of all ages. In this post-Covid world, being outdoors has become more important than ever before, and we’re proud to have created a green oasis for everyone to enjoy and hope the community will be proud of it too. We invite you to visit and enjoy the park, take off your shoes and put your feet in the water!”
Artist, Mel Chantrey, said: “In creating this installation I have drawn on memories and experiences distilled from encounters in the natural landscape. Our aspiration was to create a place that was both evocative and engaging to a wide audience and age groups. That has been the driving force behind the design of Elephant Springs. We wanted to make something which could delight, challenge and excite children, but also somewhere adults would just as much want to come and spend time, where all the senses – smell, touch and sounds, would be simultaneously stimulated. Our hope is that it will inspire others to think differently about how public spaces can be designed.”
Armel Mourgue, Partner at Gillespies said: “Elephant Springs sits at the heart of this landmark regeneration project, nestled in an ever-expanding central park that saw the first phase open in 2017 before any of the buildings. Our landscape-led approach created very early on a destination for relaxing walks, playful times and essential human interaction. The new phase will see all these activities expand into a much larger park, where unforgettable moments of play and water are revealed amongst a landscape of rain gardens, pockets of lawn and groups of mature trees.”
Cllr Catherine Rose, Southwark Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Parks and Sport, said: “Green spaces are fundamental to our residents’ health and well-being, from helping to clean Southwark’s air to providing a calming oasis or favourite spot to exercise. This is why we’re delighted that Elephant Park and its unique waterscape now belongs to the borough’s extensive network of over 215 parks and green spaces. By unlocking and increasing open space in Southwark, we can create restful places for all ages as well as new safe routes to walk, cycle or play. We hope this will become a new local favourite place throughout the whole year for everyone living, visiting or working in the area.”
Elephant Springs is now open to the public and can be found at Elephant Park, Elephant Road, London, SE17 1UB. Visitors to Elephant Springs can also take advantage of the vibrant restaurant and retail offering in Elephant Park, including new destinations Four Hundred Rabbits, Bayroot, Mercato Deli and more. New residences Park Central West and Park Central East offer renters front row views of Elephant Springs and beyond.
Elephant Park is the £2.5bn regeneration project spearheaded by Lendlease and Southwark Council. A new Zone one destination, just moments from Elephant & Castle underground station, Elephant Park brings a curated mix of new homes, restaurants, retail, green space and more.