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.
While I truly appreciate the need for any kid to get dirty in a sandbox or let their imagination run wild in a field of mud puddles (something I was doing myself only an hour ago), I love to see how technology like a Kinect 3D camera can create new interactive environments and games. Case in point this new augmented reality sandbox designed by Oliver Kreylos out of U.C. Davis that projects a real-time colored topographic map complete with contour lines onto the surface of the sand while you manipulate it. The system even allows you to pour virtual water on your creation and interact with it in real time. It’s not hard to imagine switching the entire system to volcano mode, or using the projection in some sort of three dimensional toy battlefield. Gah!
According to Krelos’ YouTube page, the project was funded by the National Science Foundation with the hopes of installing these systems as exhibits at science museums like the Lawrence Hall of Science or the Tahoe Environmental Research Center. See another demo of this 21st century sandbox here. (via reddit)
Danish firm Monstrum, founded by Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen, are responsible for some of the most brilliant playscapes I’ve ever seen. From life-size blue whales, giant serpents, and wobbly castles, any one of these would have been my dream come true as a child. See many more examples in their project gallery. (via super punch)
This is the story of a nine year old boy named Caine who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his father’s used auto part store. A dollar gets you four plays, and two dollars gets you a five-hundred turn FUN PASS. Business was slow until independent filmmaker Nirvan Mullick spotted the arcade and plotted to change Caine’s life forever. Watch the short film and if you feel as weepy and joyous as I did, head over to his newly established scholarship fund. And can I just say, what an amazing dad to support, encourage, and allow his son to pretty much overtake his storefront for the sake of fun and creativity. (via mefi)
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this? Given the opportunity my son could probably cover the entire piano alone in about fifteen minutes. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.