Crazy golf course designed by Sir Paul Smith set to hit London

A new crazy golf course with nine commissioned designers will be part of London Design Festival this year if a Kickstarter target of £120,000 is reached.

Paul Smith's installation
Paul Smith’s installation

An outdoor crazy golf course with holes designed by Sir Paul Smith and the late Dame Zaha Hadid will take over London’s Trafalgar Square this year if funding is reached.

Nine holes by nine designers

Visionary Crazy Golf, part of this year’s London Design Festival, will be installed if £120,000 is raised through Kickstarter to go towards the golf course’s completion.

There will be nine holes created by different designers and architects including: Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Mark Wallinger, Tom Dixon, Camille Walala, Ordinary Architecture, HAT Projects, Neon Studio and Atelier Bow-Wow. Paul Smith – who chose the designers – has curated the project in collaboration with the LDF team.

Paul Smith says he invited both “distinguished and emerging” designers to take part, and that they had been given “free rein to be playful, original and have fun”.

“The result will be a wonderful and accessible display right at the heart of London, which will celebrate design and creativity, and explore engineering and new materials. It will both entertain and inspire,” he says.

A clubhouse, a maze and a pigeon

The holes will include one adorning the steps leading up to the National Gallery with signature coloured stripes accompanied by a miniature clubhouse (Paul Smith), a wavy course spread across two levels that will snake between Trafalgar Square’s lions (Zaha Hadid), a maze (Mark Wallinger), and a giant pigeon (Ordinary Architecture).

The installations aim to “make statements about the future of architecture”, says Christopher Turner, deputy director at LDF.

For example, Tom Dixon will explore the “future of transport” through his installation of intertwined tubes, which aim to depict the possibility of “pneumatic tubes pushing people around the city”. Neon Studio also imagines a waterlogged city with houses above water, accessible via elevators.

“It will attract a new audience to the festival”

LDF expects the golf course to be “one of the most popular projects” of the festival to date as well as this year’s “most prominent installation”, and hopes it will attract a varied audience “from design aficionados to small children”.

“It is a fantastic landmark project in that it will attract a new audience to the festival, really broadcasting the event to a wider public,” says Turner. “One million people pass through the square each week: they’ll all be able to play and enjoy this bright, creative, free spectacle.”

He adds: “Above all, we hope to show that design and architecture can be serious fun, and to inspire a new generation of creatives.”

Funding of £120,000 needed by 6 June

If funding is reached, the crazy golf course will aim to “bring an awareness of design and its possibilities” to the general public, says LDF. Previous installations have included a giant chess set and a light show performed by an assembly line of robots.

The Kickstarter campaign launched on 24 April and has already raised almost £2,000. Backers can pledge anything from £5 to £5,000, and will receive rewards such as priority tickets, especially-designed Paul Smith products including scarves, tote bags and studio prints, and the opportunity to tour the designers’ studios and take them on at crazy golf.

The project needs to raise £120,000 by 6 June in order to go ahead, with the same amount set to be matched through sponsorship.

“Projects in the square are incredibly expensive,” says Turner. “We really need to reach our Kickstarter target to make this happen. We’re also exploring the legacy of this project – we hope it’ll stay together as a single installation and have an extended life elsewhere.”

Visionary Crazy Golf aims to take place in Trafalgar Square 16 – 22 September. Booking details are yet to be announced. For more details, visit the Kickstarter page.


The late Zaha Hadid's installation
The late Zaha Hadid’s installation
Tom Dixon's installation
Tom Dixon’s installation
Ordinary Architecture's installation
Ordinary Architecture’s installation
Camille Walala's installation
Camille Walala’s installation
Neon's installation
Neon’s installation
HAT Projects' installation
HAT Projects’ installation
Atelier Bow Wow's installation
Atelier Bow Wow’s installation
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