March 12, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
Via All That Is Interesting
: Monstrum Playgrounds, Realizing Children’s Imagination In Wood
February 25, 2014
Most people look to Google Maps to help navigate the present. For Brooklyn-based programmer and designer Justin Blinder, though, Google Maps is an apt device for understanding the past — and potentially the future. Utilizing Maps to showcase the facelift that New York City has received under the Bloomberg administration, Blinder sheds light on gentrification, urban planning, and their implications for some of New York’s oldest neighborhoods.
Blinder made great use of NYC Department of City Planning’s PLUTO dataset to create his Vacated photo project. With that digital storehouse at his fingertips, Blinder successfully scoured for buildings constructed within the past four years and then used Google Street View’s cache to distill years of structural revamping into a single frame.
Of course, Blinder doesn’t create the GIFs for the sake of themselves. While Blinder restrains himself from making a statement one way or the other regarding the city’s changes, the series is meant to make the viewer ponder the lives that have been impacted. Says Blinder, “Vacated” is meant to “[prompt] questions by virtue of its incompleteness: ‘Vacated by whom? Why? How long had they been there? And who’s replacing them?”
Via All That Is Interesting
: Justin Blinder’s Gentrification GIFs Showcase A NYC In Flux
January 17, 2014
The Aurora Borealis is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and tourists have long traveled from near and far to take in the epic beauty of these northern lights. The excitement is sometimes tempered, however, by the fact that the best time to witness the phenomena is in the dead of winter, and in locations that are known for extreme cold!
Hotel Kakslauttanen, located in the wilderness near Finland’s Urho Kekkonen National Park, has found a creative and visually unique solution to the problem: glass igloos. The lack of trees or streetlights produces the perfect combination for viewing the northern lights within the Arctic Circle. The hotel has built 20 glass igloos within the park, with each just large enough to accommodate two people.
The thermal glass walls and ceilings in these structures have been treated with a frost preventative. This enables them to maintain a crystal clear view of the surrounding sky—along with the rest of the natural outdoors—even in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit. When conditions are right, visitors are treated to an amazing view of the Aurora Borealis in a warm and comfortable location. As you might imagine, this destination is a favorite for lovers looking for a memorable, secluded, and romantic trip together.
It’s also a pretty affordable getaway. The compact space and well-sealed panels make it very economical to heat each unit, and the body heat produced by each igloo’s inhabitants reduces energy costs even more.
In addition to the glass igloos, the hotel also offers lodging alternatives, including traditional ice igloos and cabins. Another one of the resort’s biggest draws is its smoke sauna, the largest in the world. It’s perfect for warming up and relaxing on those nights when the weather does manage to get too cold for comfort.
Via All That Is Interesting
: The Igloo Village At Hotel Kakslauttanen