1) How did the concept for Numuga come about? Do you remember where you were when you first thought of it?
The first thoughts of Numuga came about after a few training sessions with my football team. We were using portable passing walls at the time that were held up by sand bags. They weren't perfect, but did aid the passing and shooting drills. We also had other training equipment too, some of which I'd never used before. The thinking was the majority of the public will never have used these either, they don't know what they're missing out on! So, I started to design other potential pieces that could work as permanent fixtures in public spaces.
It then became the perfect mix, combining my sporting hobbies and my designer job. After drawing out each of the individual elements, the easiest way to piece them together was by having modular zones. This then led on to the idea of using training combinations to determine the various layouts.
2) Have you always been interested in sport? (If yes, how did it influence your concept development?)
Absolutely, I've always loved sport and in particular ball sports. I've been lucky enough to grow up surrounded by good facilities to help me improve and play multiple sports. I've represented my county at squash, tennis and cricket. Won national rugby tournaments with school. Played football and tennis for Loughborough University, then went on to play semi-pro football after university. I've always been a keen golfer too.
The intricacies around improving skills and techniques has always interested me, which is a huge part of the concept development. The Numuga spaces are essentially practice areas for key sporting skills. Repetition is the best way to improve sporting ability. Practice individual parts of the game, so they become second nature when it comes to match format. Practice makes permanent!
3) How do you think Numuga could benefit children and in turn communities?
Nowadays, traditional MUGA's tend to be quite limiting in terms of the games you can play. Finding the numbers to take part in a match is tricky, often making these spaces unengaging and unused. We wanted to create a space where it didn't matter if you were on your own or in 2's, 3's, 4's, 5+ people, you could still get something out of the space. Not only that, these caged spaces can often appear elite and intimidating.
Numuga removed the main barriers to play – the cage. Then we shifted to a more freestyle type of play, where kids can learn the basics of sport without necessarily taking part in a ‘match’. Learning how to pass, control, catch, throw and aim are key skills that can be transferred to multiple sports. We are creating spaces that doesn't alienate different abilities. The space is meant to be fun and inviting for beginners, but will also hone the skills of more experienced players. We're not trying to challenge match format spaces, we want to make sport more accessible, whilst improving children's technical ability and health.
Governments are pushing for increases in activity and communities are asking for more engaging spaces. We want to help drive change, getting people outside more and reducing child obesity rates.
4) What would be your favourite component from the selection of Numuga elements?
My favourite element is probably the most simple, the Football Tennis Wall. Endless fun can be had with 2, 3 or 4 people on there. Each individual element can be fun, but where the maximum usage comes into play is the various element combinations. Particularly in football, a player is able to glide across the space using different elements, very much like a football skatepark.
5) Where do you see Numuga in 5 years time? Have you any plans to branch out or further develop the range?
Our aim is to have a number of spaces with varying sizes and layouts around the world. Ideally we'd like to create a space across each of our target areas – schools, universities, housing developments, local councils, sports clubs and public space architects. We also want to personalise the spaces to suit the sports of the countries they inhabit. We will definitely be adding to the range, introducing new pieces to help other skill sets.
Further down the line, we want to somehow digitise the spaces, so we'd be able to track the data from each piece of equipment, showing number of passes, shots, people in any given zone at any time.
Thanks for the feature Russell Play! Hope your clients will like our product.