WHEN it comes to choosing material to build a playground, adhesive packing tape is unlikely to be high on the list, unless you are American artist Eric Lennartson.

Using 56 kilometres of 100mm wide tape, and the services of a willing army of volunteers, Mr Lennartson is putting the final touches to his project Tapescape at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Drawing on his eclectic background, Mr Lennartson said the first version of Tapescape was created for a temporary shopfront rented by a children's museum in California.

"I started as a maths and physics double major in college, but when I got into the hard subjects, I switched to an Art degree, but then finally graduated with a Masters of Architecture," Mr Lennasrtson said.

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.
Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery. David Nielsen

"The design has structure, form and space, it creates a tactile experience for the user."

Mr Lennartson said there are a range of different 'textures' created by walking and playing in the tunnels.

"It has complex curves and arches, and it is fun how spaces are created by stretching tape."

Starting with a simple two-dimensional drawing, Mr Lennartson said he maps out the design, before creating a basic framework, also out of tape, before more tape is stretched over the frame.

"It is all under tension, the longitudinal tapes try to lengthen the space, while the latitudinal ones tries to compress it, so that it retains structure and strength."

Mr Lennartson said Tapescape is about allowing users to 'self-direct' their play.

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.
Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery. David Nielsen

"We have installed urban planning techniques, not rules, but natural guides like obstacles, to make people crawl or climb, not just run."

Although designed to be used by all ages, Mr Lennartson has created a 'totscape' for young children, acknowledging older children and adults can be intimidating."

"I just want everyone to have fun, so we created a smaller version just for the little ones."

With features including tunnels, slides and bridges, Mr Lennartson said there is a fascination in being able to see through what you are walking on, citing glass-floored observation decks built into buildings around the world.

The Ipswich Art Gallery installation is the first in Australia, but the twelfth in the world, and will be open to the public from Monday December 5.

A helper working on the new tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery takes a break.
A helper working on the new tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery takes a break. David Nielsen

"It is all part of the Construction Site installation, running through until February."

With Tapescape designed for people of all ages, Mr Lennartson said there will be 'running repairs' throughout its time in Ipswich, with some edges unable to be concealed.

"Whatever your age, when you enter Tapescape, cut it in half."


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