A surreal and immersive crazy golf experience in the Circus West Battersea Power Station Development, with interior design by Shed and lighting from Fagerhult
That Social Place (formally SFG Club)
Words by Sophie Tolhurst
Images by Jonathan Taylor
For birdies, an indoor crazy golf and cocktail bar in Battersea, the client That Social Place asked architects Shed to ‘put the crazy back into crazy golf’. Gone are the twee windmills and fake turf, and in their place is a series of immersive and surreal experiences, moving from desert scenes to the two-player ‘Victory Vortex’.
Quality sets the course apart, starting from the level of imagination in the client’s initial brief to Shed’s development and execution of the ideas. Dave Dalziel, interior architect and designer at Shed, explains that the project benefitted hugely from a great connection and very close collaboration with an open-minded client, which really allowed the ideas to shine.
Gone are the twee windmills and turf of a traditional crazy golf course
That’s not to say it wasn’t a significant challenge. As Dalziel explains, the ambitious plan had to be realised within a landlord- and conservation-protected brick arch, under a live railway bridge link. The space itself was also only 450m2, and so for each hole, as otherworldly as it was, it had to meet compliant circulation widths, and fixing into the arches was forbidden except for in very limited locations.
The project, situated in the Circus West phase of Battersea Power Station’s retail, food and entertainment development, required a 250-capacity venue, serving fusion tacos and cocktails in a main bar and a secondary mini cocktail bar, in addition to nine individually designed and differently themed immersive crazy golf holes. It had to cater to different clients, dialling the atmosphere up for evening parties but becoming family-friendly during the day.
Hole 4 features an above-head 'gravity track' which, as the ball whizzes overhead out of sight, 'keeps players very much in suspense'
Each hole has a golf theme, often titled with a pun – though these are perhaps more for the client’s pleasure as they aren’t always obvious to the customer. Not that it seems to matter as the resulting designs are nine imaginative and individual themes that enliven the golfing experience. Drama has been created through design features: oversized elements, the application of lighting, sensor-activated elements, ‘in-your-face’ graphics, and printed playing carpets, plus a trick mirror for good measure.
Individual features for each hole were dictated by the theme. These include Hole 4 – Velocity, which is kitted out in Roy Lichtenstein-style primary colours and black and white graphics, sharply outlining its curved ramp and above-head ‘gravity track’ which, as the ball whizzes overhead out of sight, ‘keeps players very much in suspense’, says Dalziel. Hole 2 features ‘all sorts of obstacles’, according to the website, including a large, melting ice cream and... giant Liquorice Allsorts. Elsewhere, a prism-filled, intense yellow and black space warns ‘Take no Prism’ers’. Look out for fading and sensor-triggered lighting along the way, while the ‘infinity’ hole, with sequential strobe lighting and a one-way mirror, gives the impression of an endless tunnel – apparently a customer favourite, says Dalziel.
The venue features a nine-hole course and bar, and was built under a live railway bridge link in a space measuring only 450m2
Shed approached Fagerhult for the lighting, having worked with the company for previous projects such as the Meat Liquor restaurants and Oowee. As Fagerhult’s Thomas Harries explains: ‘Each hole has a unique design, with some having integrated lighting within the units. Our brief was to create a lighting scheme that complemented the space whilst allowing each hole to shine. We decided to go for a track and spot solution over the holes with very narrow beam spotlights – these were used to highlight areas of interest throughout the space whilst retaining a high level of contrast.’ The teams worked closely throughout, with Fagerhult creating lighting models and demonstrating samples to Shed and the client, and spending time working on-site.
Fagerhult has numerous brands in its portfolio, meaning its product range can offer all the functionality needed in both playing areas and the main bar. Lighting is integrated into the course to enhance the already bold and dazzling interiors and colours, creating ‘playful optical illusions and a kaleidoscope of colour as players move throughout the space’, says Harries.
The bar area is designed to appeal to both partygoers and families. There are bespoke tessellated cement floor tiles, paired with brightly coloured furniture with tropical upholstery. A multi-layered lighting scheme is able to tweak the atmosphere as desired, featuring linear LED strip lights and spotlights, mixed with feature pendants and a vibrant pink, flexible neon light. Products come from multiple Fagerhult brands (Fagerhult, LTS and Atelje Lyktan), each with ‘its own identity and unique range of products’, Harries comments.
The bar area is designed to appeal to both partygoers and families; a multi-layered lighting scheme is able to tweak the atmosphere as desired
Fagerhult also provided a control system that allows for the easy control of four different lighting circuits with a combination of ambient and accent lighting. As Harries explains: ‘During the day we would suggest a higher ambient and a lower level of contrast, whereas in the evening we would want far more emphasis and accent elements of the scheme in order to create a lounge/cocktail bar atmosphere.’ This is a service Fagerhult offers its customers, having a dedicated team within Fagerhult UK who advise on the correct control systems for each project, and work with a wide range of control systems, frequently using DALI, DMX, Bluetooth and Organic Response.
Looking forward to wherever Birdies goes next, Dalziel believes the concept offers plenty of scope, being unique and ‘instantly recognisable’ yet generous enough to allow for many more new hole designs. ‘This is by no way a cookie cutter approach to a future rollout of sites,’ he says. ‘The next challenge will be to create a new course just as crazy and entertaining as this… if that’s possible!’
Bespoke tessellating cement floor tiles
Blue, grey, light grey pigment coloured tiles made to size by contractor
Large format graphics
Artwork design by Shed; production Off The Wall Graphics (by client’s’ supplier)
Specified by Shed, supplied by Inside Out Contracts
Fagerhult (inc. brands Fagerhult, LTS and Atelje Lyktan)
- Fagerhult Globia
- Fagerhult Touch Mini track spotlight
- Fagerhult Kaptur
- LTS Vale Tu Round
- Atelje Lyktan Ogle Pendants
- Atelje Lyktan Ogle track spots
- Osram MCU Dali Dimmer
- NGA LED strip
One-way mirror feature
Printed carpet playing surface
Hole contractor team