See you in the sandpit!

We are delighted in this issue of Building & Construction review to showcase the talents of Sandpit Creations with our Commitment to Excellence.

Fibre glass bears
The botanic garden at Wakehurst: Royal Botanic Gardens has over 500 acres of wild flower meadows, woodlands, gardens and a nature reserve, attracting thousands of visitors annually. During October half-week week last year, it set the scene for an autumnal family adventure: ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by national treasure and children’s author Michael Rosen. Families from all over the UK arrived with backpacks and wellies in search of a bear to excited cries of ‘swishy, swishy’ and ‘squerch, squerch.’

The much-loved children’s story was brought to life, through the trail weaving past the Autumnal birch trees in Bethlehem Woods, towering Wollemi Pines in Coates Wood and stunning reflections of Westwood Lake.

The talented team at award-winning Sandpit Creations were behind the genius design and creation of the two 2-metre-tall bears and beautiful river installation. The bears were made using 3D modelling, CNC modelling and fibre glass finishing, whereas the river was imaginatively created using bright, blue ribbon tied to trees.

“It was great fun, creating part of the trail for this children’s classic story. Our team of creatives came together to design and install the bears and river, thinking through the eyes of children to create a magical landscape.” – explained Director Dan Barr.

From bear expeditions, Alcotraz & Moonshine Salon, to Sherlock Holmes’ Museum props, the team has been worked on an eclectic range of projects, bringing narrative storytelling to the foreground.

Diverse creative skillset
The diverse team of creative/concept designers, scenic artists, textile specialists, creative technologists, prop makers, carpenters, sculptors and metalworkers had largely worked together previously on the iconic Crystal Maze Live Experience. Sandpit Creations Founder and Director Dan decided to fly solo, bringing much of his original production and set design team with him and started the company in 2023.

The company’s name pays homage to Dan’s favourite directors: The Cohen Brothers- famous for classics like ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘Fargo’. The directors famously attribute their trademark quirky filmmaking to artistic freedom, “The movie people let us play in the corner of the sandbox and leave us alone.” This resonates with Dan and his team who pride themselves on playful narrative concepts embedded into sets, props, costume pieces, to whole show designs and immersive theatre attractions.

“One of our strengths is that we’re a young, diverse team, with tons of experience and have worked together for a long time. Our project management style is flawless as we intuitively know how to work as a team.

We’ve worked on everything from corporate pop-ups, to museum work, theatre sets, outdoor attractions and bars/pubs. We naturally think outside the box and love non-standard build designs. As an independent company, we bring vitality, innovation and imagination.”

Since the company’s inception in 2023, they’ve worked with big players like Samsung, Doc Martens, Aardman, Cupra and Kew Gardens and bagged a finalist nomination for The Access All Areas Event Production Awards: ‘Ones to Watch Category.’ More recently, the epic team won the ‘Most Innovative Theatre & Events Creative Workshop 2024’ in the South East England SME News Enterprise Awards, proving they are trailblazing creative innovators.

Immersive bar experiences
In immersive theatre, the set and environment are paramount- creating new worlds for the audiences and this technique is now found in the hospitality industry. Take the Alcotraz prison bars for example, found in major cities like London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. Inspired by the real-life Alcatraz prison, this immersive theatrical cocktail bar encourages ‘inmates’ to smuggle liquor in to make prison-worthy cocktails, whilst trying to escape the watchful eye of the Warden. These authentic, recreational experiences have proved very popular with pundits and Inventive Productions, the team behind Alcotraz has now opened Moonshine Saloon in Liverpool and London.

The Wild West themed bars take immersive theatre to another level, with swing doors and costume hire from the Deputy Sheriff, Mayor to Brothel owner! Sandpit Creations have worked on the set design for both Alcotraz and Moonshine Saloon, “What a great experience! We were in our element here, with narrative build concepts. The result is a truly authentic, immersive experience with guests really feeling like they were in the Wild West!”

“This is an exciting direction for the bar industry to be moving in- we get to utilise our creative design skills and guests gets added value for money on an evening out! It’s a win-win!”

Sherlock Homes: Micro-electronics
The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London is dedicated to the intrepid, global sensation: fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally written by author Arthur Conan Doyle between the late 19th century until early mid -20th century, the books have continued to inspire films and TV series. The museum was founded in 1990 and welcomes fans from around the world each year. As part of a recent expansion, museum staff commissioned Sandpit Creations to design and install new features in two floors on the third floor: one dedicated to Sherlock Holmes in film and TV and one to the author.

“The Arthur Conan Doyle room has been great fun- we have used micro-electronics to create moving, illuminated props in the room. We asked actors to do the voiceover for the author’s life story and as throughout the narration, aspects in the room come to life, like the house and wooden toy Tiger. It’s a really magical experience, that will be appreciated by Sherlock Holmes fans everywhere.”

The future for Sandpit Creations
With a talented pool of creatives and a prestigious award nomination under their belt, we wondered what was next for the London-based company.

“We love working in London but want to travel further afield and work on exciting projects across the country. We think that the immersive theatrical cocktail bars like Alcotraz and Moonshine Saloon will pave the way for similar ideas possibly in hotels or restaurants- offering diners a gastro-immersive or weekend-hotel immersive experiences. We would love to be part of that movement or the Putt Putt Noodle Adventure Golf currently sweeping the nation. We are open to commissions across all sectors from corporate pop-ups, outdoor themed attractions, theatre designs, to museums and can happily work on specific briefs or come up with our own ideas.”

If this has sparked your imagination, please see the website below for more details:
T 07547 352391