Lights with a leopard look

Giraffe Park in Uppsala

Imagine having nine months of winter; it’s just as dark at noon as it is in the morning and in the evening. Would you still want to take the kids to the playground after kindergarten? Or would you rather rush home, shivering all the way, make a fire and settle down on the sofa with a cup of hot tea and a blanket?

Light in the Giraffe Park

In Sweden people often suffer from a lack of light in the wintertime. In the dark hours they like to withdraw and spend days on end inside their own four walls. Although it may be healthy and relaxing when done in moderation, over the long term it is not good for the body or the soul. It is even more extreme with children, who become tired and restless when they’re indoors for too long. At the end of the winter children and adults alike are yearning for sunlight.

Bringing light to the darkness

No one has yet been able to invent an artificial sun. But the city of Uppsala had an idea in 2014: Why not design a playground that is brightly lit throughout the winter? When there’s no natural sunlight available, one has to improvise. Not much is needed for this: a public sponsor, an architect to design a playground, a couple of light poles with adequate lighting – and the ‘winter garden’ is finished.

Creating a leopard look with simple steel poles

In November 2014 Tecpoles receives the order from Swedish customer Moramasten to make two light poles with a leopard look. If they want to stay on schedule, they cannot make the poles in Germany. Thus, without further ado, two poles that were already delivered to the Swedish customer are brought back to Germany, coated with a predator design and transported back to Sweden.

Good reasons for good priming

The task is not that straightforward; the leopard look should last for a long time and withstand the Swedish winter weather conditions. But Tecpoles’ subsidiary Eurocoatings in Werl is a specialist in specialty coatings and thus this challenge can also be met. After a good week the leopard poles are finished: well primed with a white powder coating, lacquered with a clear lacquer for better adhesion – and finally covered with a wrap that transforms the regular light source into a shining predator.

Poles and children’s eyes lit up

The timing is right. At the beginning of February 2015, the darkest time of the year, the Giraffe Park is opened by the city of Uppsala. Parents and children, childcare staff and teachers can test out the playground – and it is a success. The two leopards stand between other light poles and light up just as the eyes of the children do. Now they can suddenly see how to get on to the monkey bars much better and would rather spend the dark winter hours outside. Parents, childcare staff and teachers notice a positive effect: the children – and their parents – are spending more time outside, are more relaxed overall and sleep better at night. It makes sense somehow, because whoever has to watch out for glowing leopards when climbing up the giraffe really has a story to tell afterwards, as well as a lion’s appetite, and is exhausted at bedtime …

Technical details

Project duration

November 2014 to January 2015

Items included in delivery

Two standard steel masts


  • Form: conical
  • Wall thickness: 3 mm
  • Height: 8 m
  • Treatment: 1st layer: white powder coating, 2nd layer: clear lacquer, 3rd layer: leopard wrap
  • Coating and wrap:
Lighting poles