architecture · community

PHOTOS: Bouncy, Zig-Zagging Squibb Park Bridge is NYC’s Funnest Pedestrian Bridge | Inhabitat New York City

The city can feel like a maze sometimes; in this case it really is.

Whether or not you agree that funnest is actually a word, you have to admit that this new bouncy, zig-zagging pedestrian bridge in Brooklyn is pretty darn cool. Designed by Ted Zoli and constructed by HNTB, Squibb Park Bridge provides a much-needed link over the BQE to connect Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Reactions to the slightly unstable sensation felt when crossing the bridge seem to be mixed, but locals are certainly appreciating the newfound ease with which they can get to the waterfront.

check out the full gallery via PHOTOS: Bouncy, Zig-Zagging Squibb Park Bridge is NYC’s Funnest Pedestrian Bridge | Inhabitat New York City.

It’s like a grown-up sized version of those bridges they put on playground structures! Neato!

architecture · environment · happiness · play

In the future, everything will be made from trampolines

Surprised this is picking up so much press:

As a pair of European designers have demonstrated, it is in fact possible to intertwine the fun-factor of trampolines with utility. And the world is now a better place. First off is the proposed trampoline “Bridge in Paris,” a design that was put together by Atelier Zündel Cristea of AZC Architecture Studios.

His describes his floaty bridge thusly:

It appears to us that Paris has enough bridges. Our intention is to invite its visitors and inhabitants to engage on a newer and more playful path across this same water.

In the future, everything will be made from trampolines

We propose an inflatable bridge equipped with giant trampolines, dedicated to the joyful release from gravity as one bounces above the river.

more via This is awesome News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip – io9.

Is it dangerous? Probably. Would it ever get approved? Doubtful. But I’m still excited to see this getting so much press, since that indicates that people are interested and hungry for opportunities to get outside and play!

community · creativity · happiness · Social

Matthew Silver, The Great Perfomer is simply silly for a living

I read about this street performer on Mashable. Based in Manhattan, he sounds like a guy with the same passion and vision for a play-filled world that I have, so I just had to share:

Photo image courtesy of Flickr, charlesdyer.

Matthew Silver just wants people to smile.

Silver, “The Great Performer,” can be seen throughout Manhattan using dance, song and oversized props to ease the tension of everyday life — because, as he says on his website, “it’s OK to be silly from time to time.”

Matthew describes his work on his website as an antidote to seriousness:

My role as a clown, trickster and village idiot is to parody excessive seriousness by playing with taboos, rules, and social norms.  My inspiration comes from my heart.  I perform for smiles and laughter, loosening people’s armor, and opening up a portal for imagination, creativity and love.

Silver reaching out to his audience, literally. Photo from his website.

Glad there is somebody out there who spends his time encouraging people to be silly.

Check out Matthew Silver on his website or Facebook page.

creativity · design

Furniture for Breakfast

On this blog we often talk about the importance of being more playful and fun. Two great ways to be more playful are with design and food. One designer decided to combine both!

As covered by Design*Sponge:

I was glad to see that this year’s [Milan Furniture Fair] show offered more tongue-in-cheek pieces that played around with the idea of furniture in a fun and fresh way. This “furniture tasting” waffle iron is from Ryosuke Fukusada and Rui Pereira, and it allows you to produce, essentially, a completely edible collection of dollhouse living room furniture. Is this a super functional design? Perhaps not (although you can eat what you make), but it’s a clever way to play with design while bringing up the topic of mass production. Although I may have to be in favor of mass production if it means plates full of tasty furniture-shaped waffles. Click here for more information and details over at the 2DM Magazine blog. Thanks to our resident foodie, Kristina, for the tip.

Photos via 2DM

Just another excuse to play with your food. 🙂

What other examples of fun food design have you seen lately? Share them in the comments below.

creativity · play

Using play to cover hard news

English: A mugshot of Puppet, S.
Puppet mugshot. Image via Wikipedia

I love this story from Cleveland, OH, about how one news team brought some fun to their news reporting, and a good way of finding a solution to a problem:

It’s courtroom drama crossed with “Sesame Street,” as a television station barred from using cameras during a high-profile corruption trial covers the highlights with a nightly puppet show. It stars a talking squirrel “reporter” who provides the play-by-play in an exaggerated, “you won’t believe this” tone.

“It’s a satirical look at the trial and, again, I think we have it appropriately placed at the end of the newscast,” WOIO news director Dan Salamone said Thursday.

He said the puppets are in addition to the station’s regular coverage of the Akron federal trial of ex-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, the longtime Democratic power broker in Cleveland

“It’s not intended in any way to replace any of the serious coverage of the trial,” Salamone said.

With cameras barred from court, the news media has relied on artist sketches of the proceedings inside and daily video of Dimora walking into court with his wife and his defense team.

The station uses the puppets repeating testimony and performing as witnesses, reporters and jurors to detail the case, which began last week and is expected to last three months. The trial has been a daily staple of front-page coverage in The Plain Dealer newspaper and often leads TV newscasts in town.

Read the full story at Talking squirrel puppet reports from high-profile Ohio trial

It’s always nice to see when playfulness gets some attention.

behavior · creativity · health · youtube

30 minutes of play a day!

*edit*: NOW with working YouTube link. Thanks for NOT telling me, people, gosh! 😛

In case you’re still trying to come up with a new year’s resolution, or even if you think you’ve got your goals for 2012 all set, you might want to make room for one more.

Ryan Ford, the man behind the DemonDrills workouts on YouTube and owner of Apex Movement, a Parkour and Crossfit gym in Colorado, makes a very convincing argument for just how easy it is to incorporate 30 minutes of fun exercise, i.e. play, into your day:

You’d be amazed at how easy it is to add a little play into your day, and how quickly that play adds up. It also helps get the creative juices flowing and helps you see the world in new ways, so it’s also good brain exercise.

behavior · community · creativity · Social · youtube

More subway enrichment

More examples of how to make your environment fun, thanks to Boing Boing:

In this video from the NYC subway, a singer named Jessica Latshaw, bearing a small uke, finds herself sitting across from a gentleman with a fine pair of bongos. The two begin an impromptu jam session, emceed by a random gregarious stranger and captured for posterity by a subway rider with a camphone. The performance is just fine, and it’s clear from the footage that the rest of the car is having a fine time.

In theory, it’s possible that the whole thing is a fix, “buzz marketing” from Latshaw and co, and if so, well, it’s an extraordinarily nonobnoxious example of the form.

okay- what you are about to watch is a true new york experience. what originally started out as a typical nyc subway ride (sitting across from guy who smelled like urine) turned into an awesome performance by two people who have never met before. i captured the whole thing on video.

never a dull moment on the nyc subway (Thanks, z7q2!)

behavior · happiness · health · play

Growth of playful fitness for grown-ups

IMG_6278
Adults are starting to turn fitness back into play. Image via Wikipedia

I have noticed a growing trend in fitness. Rather than taking Spin classes or training to run marathons, or even heavy weight lifting, many adults are starting to pay to play. They are buying gym memberships or punch cards for classes that offer an hour of having fun! Many classes that incorporate dance, parkour, or toys like hula hoops or trampolines, are starting to become very popular all over the United States.

The majority of these classes are geared towards women. Jazzercise has had a resurgence in popularity the past couple of years, while new fitness classes like Zumba or HoopDance are starting to surface. There are also trampolining classes offered in some places. Below are descriptions of some of these classes for those of you like me who had no idea what these classes were exactly, (thanks to Vibe Dance Studio and Sky High Sport for descriptions):

Zumba: This Adult Fitness class features easy-to-follow routines of interval training sessions where fast and slow Latin rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix and you’ve got a Zumba class!

HoopDance: This fun, low impact Adult Fitness class will tone the entire body while using a hula hoop on and off the body. You will explore dancing while hooping and linking moves together to create a feeling a flow. This class will build coordination, body awareness, and is great for any fitness level. You laugh and smile while learning a new skill and burning calories.

AIRobics, or trampolining: AIRobics is low impact fat burning exercise that improves balance and coordination and it is fun and energizing! The workout consists of moves from many different workout activities, and it incorporates some moves that can only be done on a trampoline.

For men, there are also options:  rock climbing has been around in the U.S. since the mid to late 70s, and  gyms geared towards those athletes opened up soon after. More recently sports like Parkour or Freerunning are also being offered in gym or class settings. Interestingly, at least anecdotally it seems that women are more likely to try these “manly” sports in the safe confines of a gym and with a coach’s guidance.

Adult recreational sports are also gaining popularity, from rugby and soccer to even roller derby.

Why the sudden increase in playful classes and gym offerings?

I suspect it’s because we adults are super stressed out (according to the American Psychological Association, Three quarters of Americans experience physical and psychological symptoms related to stress in a given month) and don’t get enough time to play and relax, but know we need to workout and at least attempt to stay healthy. Rather than do the traditional workout activities like running or lifting weights, which some find relaxing while others just find it tedious or stressful or even painful, I think many adults figure if they’re going to devote what little time they have to working out, it might as well be FUN!

What are your thoughts, experiences, attitudes towards fitness? Have you discovered other fun sports teams or classes that people wouldn’t usually think of as fitness-focused?