I went to the ball pool for adults and now I feel much calmer

Bicycle kicking plastic balls like a child

Christopher Hooton
Friday 30 January 2015 15:26
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An eight-year-old potentially found a cure for cancer yesterday, but it couldn't compete with the news that a ball pit for adults had opened in central London.

Its creators, Pearlfisher, received 3,000 emails requesting bookings after word got out (sorry guys), but is it worth the trip? Because floundering in a soft play area seems like a good way to spend a morning, I headed down to find out.

Ball-to-human ratio

Fair to good. It's only about waist deep but you can easily sink into the pit so you're completely covered and slowly break through the surface making a moaning sound like a blue whale.

Colour

White was an inspired choice. Feels less like a lurid epileptic nightmare like in children's play zones and more like being kind of drunk in a cloud, or in a hospice run by Ikea.

Frolic level

High. It was a similar experience to that of Martin Creed's white balloon installation, except you can jump, splash, dive and generally flail like a crashing helicopter.

Effects

It has been posited that adulthood is dead, and that we're now all just children of increasing size. This would seem to demonstrate it. You quickly tucker yourself out and end up just lying semi-submerged in the balls trying to resist napping like an infant.

I felt supremely calm after exiting the pool, which has so far been used by people of all ages and for several business meetings. I can definitely see how it would aid creativity, it's a bit like being in a vacuum, with no distractions just your own thoughts and sense of space. Pinging the tactile balls off the wall like Steve McQueen also very satisfying.

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"It's a very transformative experience," Pearlfisher's Chloe Charlwood told me. "People go in adults and come out as children. You feel really recharged and it's fantastic from a creative point of view.

"Also the National Autistic Society have been coming to use the space a lot, they find this multi-sensorial experience can be very beneficial."

Overall fun time ball pool experience

9/10. Could be bigger and deeper and possibly include a bar, but you could easily waste several hours there.

Jump In! is at Pearlfisher Gallery: 50 Brook Green, W6 7BJ until 13 February (though they're thinking of extending it). Open Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm.

It is free but a donation to the Right to Play charity is encouraged.

@christopherhooton

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