Photo by Kosaku Mimura/Nikkei
In the Northeast suburbs of central Osaka stands a curious train station unlike any other. Kayashima Station features a rectangular hole cut into the roof of the elevated platform and, from inside, a giant tree pokes its head out like a stalk of broccoli. It’s almost like a railway version of Laputa.
The large camphor tree is older than most records but officials believe it to be around 700 years old. The story of how this tree and station became, quite literally, intertwined, varies depending on who you ask. It certainly has to do with a great reverence for nature, but also a fair amount of superstition.
Kayashima Station first opened in 1910 and, at the time, the camphor tree stood right next to the station. For the next 60 years the station remained largely unchanged. But an increase in population and overcrowding began to put pressure on the station and plans for an expansion where approved in 1972, which called for the tree to be cut down.
But the camphor tree had long been associated with a local shrine and deity. And when locals found out that station officials planned to remove the tree there was a large uproar. Tales began to emerge about the tree being angry, and unfortunate events befalling anyone who attempted to cut it down. Someone who cut a branch off later in the day developed a high fever. A white snake was spotted, wrapped around the tree. Some even saw smoke arise from the tree (it was probably just a swarm of bugs).
And so, the station officials eventually agreed to keep the tree and incorporate it into the new elevated platform’s design. In 1973 construction began and the new station was completed in 1980. The station even surrounded the base of the tree with a small shrine. To this day, the tree still stands thanks to a strong, local community and a little bit of superstition. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Photo by Studio Ohana.
Photo by Studio Ohana.
Mini Metros is an ongoing series of worldwide public transit maps that have been “shrunken and simplified” into tiny diagrams by D.C.-based designer Peter Dovak. So far he’s completed over 200 light rail and metro systems and made them available in different configurations as posters and mugs on Society6. (via Kottke)
A few Latvian activists from a branch of the bicycle advocacy group Let’s Bike it recently created a visual reminder of the space taken by cars on a typical road. To accomplish this, the group fabricated bamboo skeletons shaped like actual cars and mounted them on their bikes. The activists then cycled around the streets of Riga for several hours to highlight the absurdity of using a large car to move a single person. The stunt was organized as part of European Mobility Week, an ongoing campaign that explores sustainable urban mobility around Europe. (via Designboom, My Modern Met)
Residents of a neighborhood in Baltimore now have the most obvious place to wait for a bus ever designed. The ingenious stop is comprised of three 14′ typographic sculptures that literally spell out the word “BUS” while functioning as benches and a novel leisure space. The bus stop was unveiled last month by artist collective mmmm…, a creative collaboration between Emilio Alarcón, Alberto Alarcón, Ciro Márquez, and Eva Salmerón, who have been designing public spaces in Madrid since 1998. This is their second project in the United States. Via the collective’s website:
BUS is made with wood and steel, materials that are typically used to build urban furniture. The three letters of BUS are big enough to accommodate two to four people each and protect them from rain, sun, wind, and inclement weather. They allow people to assume different postures of sitting or standing while waiting for the bus. The S allows people to lie back while they wait, and the B provides shelter.
The BUS project was developed in conjunction with SPAIN arts & culture, Creative Alliance, and is part of TRANSIT, a creative placemaking initiative between Europe and Baltimore. You can see much more, here. (via Escape Kit)
This fun hyperlapse video was shot on Tokyo’s fully-automated Yurikamome transit system by a photographer/filmmaker who goes by darwinfish105. The visuals in the video were achieved using an array of mirror and vertical flip effects in Adobe Premiere. You might remember similar videos shot by Daihei Shibata and Craig Shamala from back in 2010, however this new video seems to have been shot predominantly from the front/back of the train giving the video a somewhat different feel. If you liked this you might also enjoy these transit photos by Céline Ramoni, also taken on board the Yurikamome. (via faith is torment)
Australian designer Cameron Booth has designed a map of the United States Highway system as if it were a public transportation subway map. What a brilliant piece of graphic design. You can pick it up for just $39. (via laughing squid)