While we are well known in our home county of Hertfordshire, in nearby Buckinghamshire, and in locations across the UK on a nationwide scale, we will always have fond memories of our 2014/2015 project in Azerbaijan. This page is a reflection of our time there. Our ability to install school playground equipment and key features like climbing frames knows no boundaries because children are always special the world over. Please contact us today if you would like to discuss this project further.
Firstly, let us introduce you to the team that completed this project for The European Azerbaijan School in Baku.
In October 2013, we were approached by a landscape designer named Prue Walsh from Play Environment Consulting. Prue informed us that she was interested in using our company to implement the playground design she had been working on for The European Azerbaijan School in Baku. We were excited at this proposal because we are always open to a new learning experience and we knew that undertaking work in Azerbaijan would certainly fall into this category.
We are proud of our work across the UK but to be given the opportunity to work on an international playground was not only a first for us, but a school playground of this style with natural elements in play was a first for Azerbaijan too.
To achieve the desired final product in Baku was a great international effort which focused us all on achieving the best possible result. Even though we all spoke different languages, we found the language of play to be universal and we worked in harmony to forge lifelong friendships.
With the Baku project, there were many different people and organisations involved such as TEAS (The European Azerbaijan Society), EAS (European Azerbaijan School), IDM (Inspection Development Monitoring) and many more people that helped us, provided great hospitality and took the time to make sure we really enjoyed our time and work in their country.
We worked alongside the IDM to maintain European construction standards throughout the building phase of the project.
This included carefully choosing our building materials for our climbing frames and other school playground equipment, including bespoke net bridges and ropes made by South West Play from Cornwall. We are hoping that this playground brings as much joy to the children who use it as it did to those of us involved in building it.
DNA Play is looking forward to future projects in Azerbaijan.
“From the moment you enter the terminal building at Heydar Alliyev Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan, you realise this is a country that is investing heavily into its future. The drive from the airport through Baku City further endorses this. Modern sleek buildings appear to have popped up overnight like magical beanstalks. The skyline is littered with the silhouettes of industrial cranes.
The high standard of architecture, from the beautiful curves of the Cultural Centre to the impressive scale of the Flame Tower, boasts Baku’s intention of standing shoulder to shoulder with other international cities. With all this progress, Baku has remembered the importance of retaining its history and culture. The beautifully preserved 11th Century Maiden Tower in the old city is testament to that.
As first impressions go, you can’t get much better than this and it was with great anticipation that we embarked on a journey that would leave us with memories to cherish forever.
On a return trip to Baku, we were introduced to the director of The European Azerbaijan School, Graeme Pollock, as well as to Shirin Jamali and Mr Alekper from Shan’s Construction, and to Heinz Kronefeld and Kanan Mehdizade from IDM. The construction schedule was confirmed and, after adapting the playground design to fit the space and requirements of the school, construction was soon underway.
A week later, we were back onsite in Baku and the serious business of building a playground was well underway. Shan’s Construction were completely professional in their approach to the task and provided us with the tools, materials and labour required to construct the bespoke timber elements. All the construction team and management onsite were respectful, friendly and positive about what we were trying to accomplish.
Despite having a language barrier to deal with, there was never a problem with communication onsite and everyone on the project was enthusiastic and worked together in harmony.
Overall, the project was an enormous success, and everybody involved should feel proud of what they achieved.
A special mention must be made about the hospitality we were shown by the people we encountered in Baku. Taleh Bagiyev, Ragsana Mammadova and Konul Safarova from TEAS, along with Gilan Tourism, were invaluable in providing all the necessary travel arrangements and support we needed to ensure we had a comfortable stay in the Azerbaijan city of Baku.
Heinz Kronefeld, Kanan Mehdizade and Nijat Rasulov from IDM always showed great interest in the project and were always on hand to ensure high standards of construction were achieved.
Graeme Pollock and the staff from EAS were always positive and supportive of the project. Kenul Huseynova, Kazim Mustafazade, Tural Wemkirskiy and the team from Shan’s Construction were hardworking and dedicated to completing the project.
Shirin Jamali, Mr Alekper and the friends and family we were introduced to were always very accommodating and sincere in their desire to make our time in Baku as enjoyable as possible. When permitted time away from work, we were shown all the sights Baku has to offer and given a cultural and culinary education of Azerbaijan.
This has left a positive and lasting impression on us.”
If you have design aspirations for a project overseas or here in the UK, please contact us to discuss your ideas. We are a leading specialist in school playground equipment, so find out more today about our climbing frames and other options in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.