Danish design firm Monstrum (previously) continues to redefine the modern playscape, constructing numerous fantastical scenes for kids to climb on in locations around the world. Founded by Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen, the award-winning firm has an extensive background in theatrical set design in theaters throughout Copenhagen that strongly influences their groundbreaking aesthetic. Each new playground becomes the backdrop for a dramatic scene, from towering robots to hoards of attacking insects. For their most recent creation in Moscow’s famous Gorky Park, Mostrum constructed a gargantuan octopus overtaking a huge oceanliner, complete with slides, cargo nets and climbing walls (shown above in subzero temperatures). See more recent work in their project portfolio.
In one of the best collaborations this blog has seen in ages, professional illustrator Mica Angela Hendricks has been collaborating with her 4-year-old daughter on a series of wonderful drawings that pass back and forther between mother and daugher until reaching an always unexpected final form. Each drawing begins with Hendricks drawing a detailed retro-ish head, after which her daughter snatches away the sketchbook to create rudimentary body (or animal!) parts as well as other random details. Afterward Hendricks goes back in to polish things up a bit and behold: dinosaur women, slug ladies, and beaver astronauts are born. Of the collaboration Hendricks shares:
Sometimes I would give her suggestions, like “maybe she could have a dragon body!” but usually she would ignore theses suggestions if it didn’t fit in with what she already had in mind. But since I am a grownup and a little bit (okay a lot) of a perfectionist, I sometimes would have a specific idea in mind as I doodled my heads. Maybe she could make this into a bug! I’d think happily to myself as I sketched, imagining the possibilities of what it could look like. So later, when she’d doodle some crazy shape that seemed to go in some surrealistic direction, or put a large circle around the creature and filled the WHOLE THING in with marker, part of my brain would think, What is she DOING?!? She’s just scribbling it all up! But I should know that in most instances, kids’ imaginations way outweigh a grownup’s, and it always ALWAYS looked better that what I had imagined. ALWAYS.
The Human Body is the first release from design studio Tinybop as part of their Explorer’s Library series that seeks to “help children develop a foundational understanding of the world.” The immersive anatomy app for kids features some great artwork work from illustrator and designer Kelli Andersen who created 200+ illustrations of bones, veins, muscles and other components that comprise the interactive environment as well as the stop motion video above. The app is extraordinarily well conceived and designed, every attempt to pry the iPad out of my son’s hands so I can actually try it myself have failed. Get it here. (via Kottke, Swissmiss)
In an attempt to better engage the youngest visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Torafu Architects created a special art gallery just for kids called Haunted House. On entering the exhibition a few familiar artworks appear hung in frames around a large white cube, but something is clearly amiss as everything appears to be moving.
The eyes in a portrait dart back and forth, a pair of hands emerges from Mona Lisa’s face and begins to manipulate the painting, the head of a portrait turns around in loops, and then a wave of relief as children realize this isn’t another crummy art gallery with old boring art. A secret passageway leads to the cube’s interior where almost every artwork can be manipulated or altered from behind, a place where the art can be touched and kids are free to laugh, run and play while interacting directly with some of the world’s most famous paintings. A killer idea.
Graphic designer and competitor for Best Dad Ever David LaFerriere has been drawing illustrations on his children’s sandwich bags since 2008. Lucky for us he photographs almost every single one, over 1,100 of which you can explore over on Flickr. (via quipsologies)
Slovenia-based photographer Matej Peljhan recently teamed up with a 12-year-named Luka who suffers from muscular dystrophy, to create a wildly imaginative series of photos depicting the boy doing things he is simply unable to do because of his degenerative condition. While he can still use his fingers to drive a wheelchair and to draw, things like skateboarding and swimming are simply not possible.
After having a conversation with Luka about his understandably normal desire to play sports or go swimming, Peljan was struck with the idea to create a non-digitally manipulated series of photographs showing the boy conquering a number of imaginary physical feats. The photographer used sheets and other props as a backdrop and shot Luca from above to capture each image, showing clearly the boy’s strength and shared sense of humor. See more photos from the series on the photographer’s website. All images courtesy the artist. (via peta pixel)
In the mid 1990s Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam was showing a large scale crochet artwork at an art gallery when two rambunctious children approached her and asked if the sculpture, resembling a colorful hammock, could be climbed on. She nervously agreed and watched cautiously as her suspended artwork twisted and stretched as the kids climbed on top of it. Suddenly an idea was born. Almost three years later MacAdam would open her first large-scale crochet playground in conjunction with engineers TIS & Partners and landscape architects Takano Landscape Planning. She has since created several additional playscapes around Japan, photos of which were recently made available for the first time online only a few weeks ago. However the MobileMe site where the projects were hosted seems to be permanently down, but Paige over at the Playscapes blog managed to highlight a few of the most interesting shots. Hopefully a new site will go up before long.
Influential children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, creator of Where the Wild Things Are, has died. You can find his obituary on the New York Times. This is such a sad day and a great loss. Do yourself a favor and watch his interview on the Colbert Report (parts 1 and 2 above), he was a witty, delightful curmudgeon up until his last days.