How Design, Play, and Safety Came Together at Westfield

In 2014 the City of Westfield, New Jersey approached Life Floor and MRC to replace their poured-in-place splash pad surface at Westfield Memorial Pool Complex.

The poured-in-place rubber pellet surface was failing, uncomfortable, and slippery. What the city really needed was a true aquatic play surface that worked as a comprehensive solution, combining safety, comfort, and playful design. A surface that would allow kids to move freely, with easier maintenance, and a design the community could engage with and be excited about.

In the earliest stages of our product, we believed Life Floor made aquatic spaces safer to move through, but it was during this project where we confirmed it’s not just the qualities of the product that let kids play more: it’s the design. The product is practical, but it also has to be applied with the potential for joy.

Life Floor’s first design for Westfield combined geometric shapes in Terra Cotta, Bluebird, Sandstone and River Rock, which were the majority of our colors available at the time. After two years, Bruce Kaufman, the now-retired Director of the Recreation Department, said, “The texture has maintained its integrity over the past two summers and the color has lasted. Kids love it, parents love it. It is much more comfortable than what we had before.”

Using Color and Form to Encourage Play

Taking a few long-term to-do’s from this first installation at Westfield Memorial Pool, we were so excited to be able to offer an additional 19 colors to their 2019 design project as well as new installation techniques. In talking recently with Heather Re, Aquatic Supervisor at Westfield Memorial Pool, she affirmed our belief that we should always strive to make a product that operators and designers can create complete play spaces with:

“We love the new colors you guys have added in the last 4 years. We want the children’s area to really stand out, and now we hope to bring the color to the rest of the complex.”

Re was deeply involved in creating the vision for the new 2019 splash pad design. The city’s main objectives were to refresh the space as a way to drive membership sign-ups and to create a beautiful environment where families could share memories on social media.

“We went back and forth a few times with the design. My first thought was to have a kid’s carwash with the entrance into the zero-depth entry. And I thought it would be cool to have a river that connects the two flowing through the pad.”

Our Life Floor Studio department created several rivers for Westfield, but the city wasn’t sure a river design was the best fit after all. So, the Life Floor Studio tried a new take on Re’s idea.

“We saw the octopus design and it was perfect. That’s it! That’s the one! It still had the river feel to it with tentacles mimicking a river…  Even the city admin, who is a much harder sell because he likes things very branded, looked at me and says it’s not even a question, it’s that one. The design was just so fun, it was everything we wanted.”

And with Life Floor’s new installation partners, Inside Edge, the design was truly able to come to life with state of the art installation techniques and customer service. “Your installers are great, I watched the process and everything they did was good and quick! They installed so quickly. If they weren’t completely happy with how a tile was placed they would take the tile up and put down a new one to make sure it was good,” said Re.

Increasing Visitors with Playful Design

Westfield is one of our favorite designs and we’re so pleased to see how a playful design truly impacts the amount of visitors partaking in splash pad play. Recounts Re:

“We get people from all over the tri-state area to see the splash pad because we have Life Floor. When they ask about Life Floor I tell them it’s a soft, safe surface that prevents injuries from happening. And it’s fun! You guys really can do everything for designs. It may cost more because it’s more labor-intensive, but it’ll be safer.”

Tackling health concerns surrounding SBR artificial pitch infill

The world-leading manufacturer of infill for artificial sports pitches has changed the face of the industry by developing a product that eliminates any risk to the health of players and the wider environment.

PRO-gran – launched in November last year – was developed by Murfitts Industries to answer the growing perception of risks to health and the environment from black rubber crumb artificial turf infill.

Founder and Managing Director Mark Murfitt said:

“Although the consensus of the studies about black rubber crumb is that it causes no significant risk to health or the environment, we wanted people to enjoy participating in sport without worrying about the playing surface.”

“A year of research and development later we offer a product that not only eliminates any concern about player or public health, but also creates a more enjoyable playing experience.”

PRO-gran is a Polymeric Infill that is engineered to offer the very best in performance and is safe for players and the environment. The infill combines the exceptional dynamic properties of rubber which is then coated in polyurethane to make it 100% safe.

PRO-gran has been through a rigorous testing programme. Exceeding the EU’s toughest standards that are applied to consumer goods, the infill is safe for people and the environment. It releases no heavy metals, PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) or micro plastics.

With a consistency of play, lower surface temperatures, no aroma and no airborne particulates, PRO-gran gives an unbeatable playing experience. In addition, it is much longer lasting – tests show that it will remain in perfect condition for over 10 years, well beyond the lifetime of a typical pitch.

PRO-gran also improves the look of the pitch for spectators. Not only does the infill reduce splash, but it also comes in green and brown, so the pitch always has the appearance of a well-maintained surface.

Scott Griffin, Club Secretary, from UK Football Club Cirencester Town said “We didn’t expect the crumb on the new pitch to be anything special, but it’s amazing! The players love that they can control the ball as there’s a consistency, no dust and hardly any splashing. It’s great as we are very keen to make sure the pitch is safe and healthy to play on now and for the future. Because of PRO-gran, everyone involved with the club has peace of mind.”

Mr Murfitt added “We have been overwhelmed by the global response to PRO-gran since we launched the infill six-months ago. Not only do we have enquiries in from around the world, but we have already installed a number of pitches. The next PRO-gran pitch to go live is SV Loosdrecht, in the Netherlands, where health and environmental concerns continue to surround SBR and clubs are seeking alternative infills that have been tested to ensure they are completely safe.”

Sujit Tavkar, General Manager of Raymond Sport says, “As the popularity of Synthetic Sports pitches for Schools and Educational Institutes grows, so does the concerns of the system having a negative health impact on players, environment and community. Raymond Sport are proud to have partnered with Murfitt Industries, UK in their endeavor to provide a Safe & Environmentally Friendly infill that particularly for this region has the added beneficial quality of reduced surface temperatures of Sports Pitches.

To find out more about PRO-gran and to download the technical information and test data visit murfittsindustries.com.

 

Hydra’s Synthetic Turf Field Continues to Perform

IMG_5188 (2)Hydra is a small island off the coast of Greece that is a prominent tourist destination that preserves its historical integrity.  The picturesque island features cobblestone streets, charming taverns, and blue-watered beaches.  While tourism brings many people from around the world to Hydra, the island sustains its own municipal population of just under 2,000 residents as well.  Hydra offers a tranquility driven by a ban on all vehicles ranging from cars to bicycles.  A preservation order sustains Hydra’s antique appeal and unique charm.

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IMG_3302 (2)A few years ago Act Global had the opportunity to construct a professional quality football pitch for the residents of Hydra.  Voted the “most beautiful” field in Greece, the synthetic turf system also offers substantial safety and performance benefits.  The artificial grass is engineered and tested to offer a superior playing surface for the players by offering a surface that is fast under the foot and provide sufficient firmness to limit fatigue injuries to the lower extremities of the player’s body.  The synthetic turf system also provides proper Rotational Resistance (traction) to ensure foot stability and to enable quick release of the shoes during rotation and traction movements.  The surface also maintains consistent and uniform ball-to-surface interaction for superior ball control.

Act Global is committed to bringing the highest quality turf surfaces to people across the world, inspiring health and happiness through the power of active play.

Learn how our synthetic turf is beneficial to athletes. 

FC Cincinnati Set New Season Record Attendance at Nippert Stadium

Cincinnati FC 5 UBU M-6FC Cincinnati might have only begun play in 2016, but the past two seasons have established FC Cincinnati as one of the most successful and most supported teams within the USL league.  FCC holds a captivated and engaged fan base including more than a dozen different support groups alongside casual fans that support the local team’s extraordinary success.  Drawing in almost 500,000 fans to Nippert Stadium throughout the season, FCC broke its single-season record for attendance.

United Soccer League compiled a “Year in Review” for FC Cincinnati that showcased the strong 2017 season. The team ended with a 12-10-10, 44pt record and placed sixth in the Eastern Conference.  The first-class coaches did an excellent job in retaining 17 key players Cincinnati FC 4 UBU M-6from 2016 that helped build a stable foundation for the team going into 2017.  FCC continued to compete at a superiorly high level, dominating not only the USL league but also defeating Major League Soccer teams Columbus Crew SC and Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup national tournament.  While average attendance was over 21,000 per game making FCC the only team in USL to average over 20,000 fans per game, the matches against MLS teams drew up to 33,250 supporters.

The 2017 season ended in October and FCC competed in one payoff match where they lost to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Act Global is excited to continue to watch the team grow and excel going into 2018.  The team currently has its home at Nippert Stadium where Act Global’s brand of synthetic turf has been the surface of choice since 2013.  The artificial grass system is engineered for safety and performance and backed by intensive laboratory tests and natural grass benchmarks of top fields to ensure its high-caliber quality.

Cincinnati FC 7 UBU M-6 2

Congratulations to FC Cincinnati on a phenomenal season, and good luck going into 2018!

FIBA 3 x 3 World Tour Final – this weekend

FIBA’s professional World Tour 3 x 3 league comes to an exciting close this weekend at the FIBA World Tour Bloomage Beijing Final at the Bloomage Hi-Up Shopping Mall in Beijing, China.  The top twelve 3 x 3 teams in the world, led by top ranked Serbian squad Novi Sad Al Wahda (sponsored by UAE club), will be competing Saturday and Sunday for $100,000 USD in prize money, all on top of Sport Court’s signature Power Game™ grey (GRY) and granite (GRT) official FIBA 3 x 3 surface.

Below are the rankings of the 12 teams heading into the weekend and you can follow matches live starting at 5PM local time (GMT + 8) both days at www.fiba.com/3x3worldtour:

  1. Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE)
    2. Ljubljana (SLO)
    3. Liman (SRB)
    4. Zemun Master(SRB)
    5. Piran (SLO)
    6. Riga (LAT)
    7. Saskatoon (CAN)
    8. Belgrade (SRB)
    9. Krakow R8 Basket(POL)
    10. Kranj (SLO)
    11. Lausanne (SUI)
    12. Humpolec (CZE)

A collection of photos from the qualifying 2017 World Tour Masters events held from July thru September in various venues around the world is attached to this email…..

Reminder:  the IOC announced in June that 3 x 3 will be an official basketball discipline in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020……

 

Sport Court 3 x 3 from South America

This weekend’s South American Youth Games 3 x 3 basketball event held at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago, Chile.  Three Power Game™ 3 x 3 courts in colors bright blue (BBL), bright red (BRD), and green (GRN) were installed for the event by our longtime partners in Chile, MW Sport Welt.  Players from 11 South American countries participated in this event running from October 5th thru October 8th.

Thanks to MW Sport Welt for the photos and support of this event……

Stay tuned for more exciting Sport Court 3 x 3 photos in the next couple of weeks as the official FIBA 3 x 3 season wraps up!!

Sport Court at 2017 Invictus Games

For the second year in a row, Sport Court will be the centerpiece for sitting volleyball at Prince Harry’s Invictus Games

Prince Harry started the Invictus Games as a way to honor the injured servicewomen and men to help them recover from their “physical and mental wounds”. The 2017 games in Toronto is the third year military athletes from all over the globe will compete, while all coming to win for their country it’s not their single purpose for being at the games.

Act Global Supports Homeless World Cup and Its Mission to Impact Our World

Leading synthetic turf manufacturer issues open statement of congratulations

21366768_10155676104784508_9013485301763464281_oAct Global participated in the 15th edition of the Homeless World Cup event in Oslo, Norway last week through its donation of three top quality artificial grass pitches. These fields hosted hundreds of players from around the world in an effort to help each of these players and numerous other players in their home countries away from homelessness.

The United Nations estimates a 100 million people are homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing. The Homeless World Cup Foundation (co-founded by Mel Young) works to “Beat Homelessness through Football” through 74 different grassroots social programs. The efforts continue to raise new heights as men’s and women’s teams representing 50 countries participated in this year’s event in Oslo.

Act Global CEO John Baize remarks, “We want to thank and congratulate the Homeless World Cup players, the numerous volunteers and staff, its sponsors and the organization.  As synthetic grass suppliers, Act Global has seen poverty in its sales in 80 countries around the world.  We see how homelessness is caused by death, poverty, lack of sufficient employment, disability, trauma or many other reasons.  While extreme poverty is pervasive around the world, in my home country of the United States every year 3.5 million people including over 1 million children are homeless. These homeless people are not ‘them’ – they are ‘us’.  They are fathers, mothers, uncles, sisters, grandparents, and daughters. Homelessness is a world problem, but not one without hope for change.”

“We all know and understand how playing sports can have a tremendous impact on a person’s physical and mental health.  Through the use of synthetic turf, we can give millions of adults and children around the world the ability to spend more time building themselves up and a time away from the streets.  The Homeless World Cup Foundation is another example of this and will serve as a tool for homeless people to change their lives while opening our eyes and hearts. Act Global is so blessed to be a small part of this event by donating the playing surfaces. To the players, we are cheering for you not just for this event but in reminding all of us that you are important, you are needed and you have brilliant football skills.”

About Homeless World Cup

The Homeless World Cup operates via a network of 74 national partners, supporting football-based programmes and social enterprise development around the world. These street football organizations run local projects in 420 cities, reaching 100,000 homeless people every year. So far, the Homeless World Cup and its partners have impacted the lives of 1 million homeless people around the globe. Some of the ambassadors for the organization include Colin Farrell, Honey Thaljieh, Tegla Loroupe, Scott Brown, David Eustace, Desiree Scott, Irvine Welsh, Kevin Carroll, Jason Roberts, Whitney Mercilus, and Jeb Brovsky.

About Act Global

Act Global is a world leader in synthetic turf technology, with manufacturing facilities on three continents and sales in more than 80 countries. The company carries a full range of products for sports (Xtreme Turf, UBU, and Xtreme Grass), landscaping (Xtreme Lawn), aviation (AvTurf) and land reclamation (LiteEarth). Act Global is a FIFA Preferred Producer for Football Turf, Synthetic Turf Council Certified Manufacturer, World Rugby Preferred Turf Producer, FIH Preferred Supplier, and holds ISO 9001 Certification. Its products have undergone hundreds of independent laboratory tests for quality, durability, safety, environmental soundness and performance. For more information, visit http://www.actglobal.com

Act Global Donates Three Synthetic Turf Fields for the Homeless World Cup

The top quality pitches from Act Global hosted players from around the world for eight days of football and fellowship in Oslo’s City Hall Square.

21248315_10155667094409508_6620074814652855691_oAustin, TX- For the third consecutive year, Act Global has collaborated with the Homeless World Cup to be the official turf sponsor and donor. This year’s tournament took place in Oslo, Norway, and brought together 50 countries with more than 500 players for the eight-day festival.

The Homeless World Cup is an annual celebration by the participating National Partners that use the power of football to help those who are homeless or socially disadvantaged. By playing football, individuals who have become displaced and isolated can build relationships as well as reintroduce structure and support into their lives. The tournament is an opportunity for individuals who are invisible on the streets to become heroes on the field while representing their nation. Norway’s capital city hosted the 15th edition of the Homeless World Cup from August 29- September 5.

An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide, and as many as 1 billion lack access to suitable housing. Of past Homeless World Cup participants, 94 percent have said that the event positively impacted their life, and 77 percent have experienced significant change.

Gathered from a uniting love of football, the participants had the opportunity to play on a professional-level synthetic turf system from Act Global. The durable, consistent, all-weather surface was more than just a pitch for the participants, rather a place to belong. It is on these fields that players were joined by thousands of fans, volunteers and members of the media for the celebration of strength and resiliency. In the end, Brazil’s mixed team won the tournament for the third year in a row, and Mexico’s women’s team claimed victory in the female bracket.

“We love working with the Homeless World Cup”, comments director Chris Clapham. “Each year we have the opportunity to witness the positive impact that the tournament leaves on the players, and it is a privilege to watch this impact grow each year. We congratulate and are inspired by the remarkable work by the Homeless World Cup co-founder Mel Young, and his entire organization. They have truly changed the world.”

The Netherlands Hockey Club Selects Act Global Synthetic Turf for it’s Game Pitch

20882720_1678130715540220_3918702243486846800_nHCQZ (Hockey Club Quick-ZOW) or QZ is a hockey club from The Netherlands that has its home in the southwest  region of Nijmegen at Staddijk Sports Park. The club emphasizes an atmosphere of teamwork, involvement, engagement, and solidarity for each of its players, fostering sportsmanlike athletes.  The club was officially founded in 2006 after a long-discussed merger that brought together the Mixed Hockey Club Quick (formerly known as Nijmeegsche Ladies Hockey Club Quick) and MHV ZOW to encompass 650 hickey members.

20915548_1678130718873553_6689560477494556355_nThis summer we had the opportunity to work with our partners at Sallandse United to install our synthetic turf in HCQZ’s wet field.  Our artificial grass is engineered and tested to offer a superior playing surface by offering greater speed and precision.  Our hockey turf gives a flat, fast surface with lower friction, free moving fibers for footing and stick movements, and technical accuracy for consistent ball roll and rebound.  This means that the teams of HCQZ will compete on a professional hockey system that will allow them to play at their best.

The official grand opening of the field for the fall 2017 season will be on September 2nd.