Play Sculptures 1960s – ’80s

‘Under Fives’ exhibit, The Design Centre exhibition, central feature Play Sculpture 1968

In 1968 The Design Centre commissioned Francis to design a central feature for their ‘Under Fives’ exhibit.

Using his imagination and playful approach to design, Francis became interested in the connection between play and sculpture. He began to investigate tubular forms, devising his own ‘artist-designed’ play equipment Play In Tubes.

Following the success of the ‘Under Fives’ exhibit, he designed a number of public art commissions and projects.

Between 1968 -’81 he worked  in London, Midlands and Scotland creating landscaped play areas.




Examples of exploration of tubular forms in Carr’s drawings and collages 1967.

City of London Festival, Barbican Centre, Play Sculptures 1968.



Play In Tubes, were colourful reinforced plastic tubing, varying in height and diameter with different sized cut outs. They were intended for most age groups. Most notably, Play In Tubes were selected by the Design Council in 1978 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, and were deployed extensively by the GLC in their playgrounds.

Play in Tubes Maquette  for Highgate Nursery School


Commissioned by the Design Council for the Silver Jubilee, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank 1978

Unknown Playground


Highgate Nursery 1978



Unknown GLC Playground

Highgate Nursery, first installation of Play In Tubes, 1978