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Playhouse book coming soon!  

Featuring over 80 entries from our global design challenge to create something to encourage play during lockdown!

All profits from the book will go towards the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal.


{Competition Update}

142 entries from 40 different countries.



In 2020, the Coronavirus outbreak left many of us having to spend extended periods of time at home in lockdown, restricting the opportunity to socialise and play in ways that we are used to.  


Brought to you by three Manchester design studios: Playground, Ben Clark Design and Barney Ibbotson IllustrationPLAYHOUSE was a competition to encourage creatives from all backgrounds to design something to enable people to play at home during lockdown.

We hoped that the project would provide a great opportunity to support and promote creatives during a difficult period, while bringing some much-needed light-relief through play. 


The brief


The brief was designed to prompt ideas such as making an existing everyday activity playful; providing a break from work, or making work more fun; recreating a form of existing outdoor play inside the house; creating a whole new type of game; or doing something entirely different to create play. It could be for adults or children, and enable solitary play or play with family, housemates or neighbours.


The only restriction was that the design had to use in its construction or as props objects commonly found in the house, garden or shed.

The response

The competition was free and open to creatives from all disciplines both in the UK and abroad. The brief was shared across platforms worldwide, and we received 142 entries in total from 40 different countries.


We saw designs from a range of age groups and backgrounds including both professional, students and amateur architects, interior designers, product designers, graphic designers and artists. 80 of the best submissions were showcased on our social media pages. 

We were also invited by Dutch Design Week to display a selection of the entries in a virtual gallery in partnership with Design Manchester.

From 26th October to 5th December 2020 you will be able to see a Playhouse installation in the window of Hilton House in Manchester, as part of the '50 Windows of Creativity' art trail, which features a 3D version of the Playhouse 'Alarm Cloche' contraption alongside some of our favourite competition entries.


The book

The 80 entries we selected for our social media channels will feature in the upcoming book, of which all profits will go towards the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal. You will be able to pre-order the book soon.


{Here's a few of our favourites}


To design something that will enable people to play at home during lockdown.

{The Brief}

Our competition is now closed. Thank you for all those that took part! 

Follow us to see the latest entries:

  • Playhouse Competition - Facebook
  • Playhouse Competition - Twitter
  • Playhouse Competition - Instagram

Playhouse Competition is a collaboration from Manchester design studios:


Ben Clark Design

Barney Ibbotson Illustration