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Monstrum Playgrounds, Realizing Children’s Imagination In Wood

March 12, 2014
Monstrum Playgrounds Transformer

Source: Monstrum

When you’re a child, the whole world is your playground. The tallest of trees in the garden magically transforms into a tree-top tower, and that cardboard box isn’t trash, but a ship destined for the furthest reaches of outer space. But what if you could actually play in a rocket? Danish design firm Monstrum strives to do just that with their playgrounds, bridging the gap between a child’s dream and its physical realization.

Monstrum Playgrounds Mushroom Kingdom

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Crooked House

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Ghost Trees

Source: Monstrum

Turning the basic swing and slide set on its head and rejecting standardized playgrounds for place-specific ones, these playtime professionals have created everything from super-sized spiders to haunted houses complete with creepy climbing frame forest and ghoulish guests. Only the bravest of children dare venture through the hall of the haunted house, and if things get a bit too scary, they can escape down the express slide to safety. They just have to avoid the bouncing bats on the way out.

Monstrum Playgrounds Parrot

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Copenhagen Rooftops

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Spider

Source: Monstrum

The brainchild of Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen, Monstrum has won countless awards for its groundbreaking playscapes, all of which were inspired by the pair’s set design background after years working in theaters across Copenhagen. Initially commissioned as a playground architect by one of their children’s schools, the design firm now creates fantasy lands for children around the globe, where the only limit present is the elasticity of their imagination. Recently, Monstrum received the 2012 Danish design award for their teensy towers of Copenhagen kitted out with a mini planetarium and chiming church bells.

Monstrum Playgrounds Fish

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Chinese Pagoda

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Boat

Source: Monstrum

What is truly remarkable about Monstrum’s dream-like designs is its attention to detail and historical accuracy. Even the Pagoda playground was modeled on the traditional tiered towers of old. In an age where playtime is increasingly associated with the digital, domestic and static, the traditional playground’s role in the lives of children has come into question—yet is all the more vital. Construction expert and chief Christian Jensen, said “A good playground should inspire kids to move”, and that is precisely what Monstrum continues to do with its kid kingdoms.

Monstrum Playgrounds Dragon

Source: Monstrum

Monstrum Playgrounds Beach House

Source: Monstrum


Via All That Is Interesting: Monstrum Playgrounds, Realizing Children’s Imagination In Wood

A Beautiful Time Lapse Of How Snowflakes Form

March 11, 2014

Winter may be on its way out (and we’re OK with that), but snowflakes are a source of perennial inspiration. Take a microscopic look at how they’re formed.


Via All That Is Interesting: A Beautiful Time Lapse Of How Snowflakes Form

The Intricate Worlds Within Magnified Sand

Sand. For some, it conjures images of tropical beverages and pristine waters. For others, it’s little more than a ubiquitous pest. Either way, we seldom think of those little granules unless we’re surrounded by them.

Magnified Sand Rock Candy

Source: Blogspot

Under the high magnification of a microscope, however, sand takes on a whole different appearance, shedding much of its supposedly homogenous properties for truly unique and diverse compositions. Depending on the sand’s location of origin, it can be made up of tiny rocks, small polished glass pieces, shells, and other gathered minerals and particles.

Magnified Sand Freshwater Beach

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Green Stone

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Kalmar Sweden

Source: Sand Atlas

This diversity leads to an amazing and beautiful array of imagery when viewed under the microscope. The kaleidoscope of colors, sizes, and shapes are truly works of natural art. Like that seen in the uniqueness of snowflakes under high magnification, magnified sands present us with a close-up view of a world that goes largely unseen to beach goers.

Magnified Sand Cocoa Pebbles

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Okinawa Japan

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Rose Glass

Source: Sand Atlas

Some of the most vibrant and interesting examples of sand come from Dr. Gary Greenberg, who has set out through his work in microphotography to present sand’s natural diversity and to the world. Says Greenberg, “It is incredible to think when you are walking on the beach you are standing on these tiny treasures…every time I look through my microscope I am fascinated by the complexity and individuality created by a combination of nature and the repeated tumbling of the surf on a beach.”

To take his photos, Greenberg painstakingly traverses beaches, looking for the perfect sand specimens to translate to film. To ensure that the sand particles don’t lose any of their dimension in the close-up shots, Greenberg makes sure to take photos of each granule from multiple angles, which he then combines with photo editing software. This artistic endeavor isn’t for the impatient, though: Greenberg, who received his PhD in biomedical research from University College London, has spent the past five years traipsing about the world’s beaches in pursuit of the perfect sands. The bulk of his work, not only in sands but other microphotography, can be seen at his website.

Magnified Sand Maui Hawaii

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Bali Indonesia

Source: Sand Atlas

Magnified Sand Highland Scotland

Source: Sand Atlas

Though highly regarded in the field, Dr. Greenberg is not the only person with a love of the natural beauty of sand, or the desire to share those images with the public. Sites like Sand Atlas are also great resources for finding a wide variety of magnified sand photography.


Via All That Is Interesting: The Intricate Worlds Within Magnified Sand