behavior · creativity · culture · environment · happiness · play

This Public Bench Turns Into A Merry-Go-Round To Connect Strangers On The Street | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Super cool (sorry it’s been awhile).

Sitting on a bench at a bus stop or in the park, most people tend to focus on their smartphones or a book rather than whoever’s sitting next to them. But a new bench is designed to instantly connect strangers in a moment of play: When you sit down, the bench transforms into a makeshift merry-go-round.

more at via This Public Bench Turns Into A Merry-Go-Round To Connect Strangers On The Street | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

community · creativity · play

Artist Creates Water-Activated Street Art To Make People Smile On A Rainy Day | Bored Panda

It makes sense that this would be developed in Seattle, where it is wet a good portion of the year.

Like a new modern version of invisible ink, superhydrophobic coatings can also be used to create hidden street art that stays invisible until it gets wet. Peregrine Chuch, a Seattle-based street artist, created a series of public works of street art called Rainworks using the same sort of hydrophobic coatings that we saw being used in Germany to combat public urination.

Church creates the artwork spontaneously because he has been assured by the city authorities that what he is doing is legal – the coating is non-toxic, non-permanent, only sometimes visible, and his works don’t advertise anything. He says that, depending on how much the sidewalk in question is used, his pieces may last between 4 months and a year, but are most vivid within the first few weeks of application.

His works are diverse, and range from artistic drawings to fun and motivational messages to a hop-scotch game that can only be played when it’s wet.

more via Artist Creates Water-Activated Street Art To Make People Smile On A Rainy Day | Bored Panda.

architecture · children · community · design · environment · health · mental health · play · school

Changing Skyline: Redesigning playgrounds to promote ‘loose play’ – think pop-up play spaces

Great article about the evolution of the playground, as well as the next generation of playgrounds emerging in cities:

After World War II, European architects turned out custom playgrounds that challenged kids both physically and intellectually. Inspired by their work, a few American architects, including Philadelphia’s Louis Kahn, tried their hands at the form. But the movement didn’t get very far. Playgrounds were a casualty of the breakdown of American cities in the ’60s and ’70s. As maintenance was deferred, they fell into ruin. By the time cities began to recover in the ’90s, Solomon says, all that local officials wanted was equipment that was indestructible and vetted for safety.

Moore, a professor at North Carolina State University who has been studying children’s play for 50 years, sees a connection between those designs and the increase in such childhood ailments as obesity, anxiety, and attention-deficit disorder. In the simple act of scrambling up the branches of a tree, a kid learns to monitor risk and deal with fear. But on most playgrounds, the climbing frames are lower than ever.

The concern about such controlled environments has sparked any number of popular books advocating less programming: Free Range Kids, 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do), Last Child in the Woods. All see our culture’s fear of risk as worse than the occasional scraped knee or broken bone.

So what’s the alternative to standard-issue playgrounds? Solomon envisions multipurpose, multigenerational urban parks that incorporate spaces where kids can take charge of their own play. Instead of a fixed bridge in a plastic fort, they would have to use their imagination to decide which objects could be converted to play equipment. Such a challenging play space also would include nooks where kids could temporarily escape the nervous gaze of their caregivers. There would be no fences, plenty of trees and bushes, and good seating.

read more of their ideas for better playgrounds via Changing Skyline: Redesigning playgrounds to promote ‘loose play’ – think pop-up play spaces.

My favorite playground growing up was made of mostly huge sewer pipe pieces, a monkey cage, and random cement shapes. What was your favorite playground as a kid? Or now? Describe it in the comments below.

behavior · environment · play · psychology

40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative | Sorry That It’s Buzzfeed

Need some creative inspiration? How about a creative, inspiring environment? Not a lot of patterns here, although I’d love to see a behavioral scientist try and spot one?

Mark Twain, author.

Ruth Reichl, food writer.

From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.

Georgia O’Keefe, painter.

Alexander Calder, sculptor.

see all forty via 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative.

creativity · design · environment · happiness · health · play

15 Artists Collaborate To Make London Children’s Hospital Cozier For Kids | Bored Panda

Last year I had a stay at a local hospital. I and the people who came to visit me all found the place hard to navigate (we all got lost more than once), and I found parts of it unfriendly and slightly claustrophobic, and not very warming or healing. They had some nondescript pictures on the walls, and that was the only way I could find to navigate my way out of the maze of white and linoleum.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The sights, sounds and smells of a hospital can make it a terrifying place, especially for children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Vital Arts, a British arts organization in charge of introducing art to Britain’s hospitals, had 15 artists collaborate to turn the interior of London Royal Children’s Hospital into as fun and colorful a place as a hospital can be.

Despite being limited by the fact that hospital environments need to be easy to clean, the artists were still able to use vinyl, ceramics, wood and even rugs to liven up these hospitals, each approaching the wards they decorated with their own unique style.

via 15 Artists Collaborate To Make London Children’s Hospital Cozier For Kids | Bored Panda.

The author Dovas comments that they wish it wasn’t just for kids. It really can be for everyone. Even something as simple as bright colors can be helpful in orienting patients and helping them feel better.

The nurses who helped me all commented about needing to get outside and get away from the sterile white. I think the curtain example illustrates the value of this beautifully:

“A seminal moment for me was when a three-year-old girl stopped crying the moment she saw the curtains, pointing excitedly to the hidden cats and rabbits. That’s when I knew my design had worked”

It is possible to have art and playfulness in sterile hospitals, as part of the healing process. Plus adding some joviality, like staying in the “monkey room” can make a somewhat painful situation seem less heavy.

Maintenance on some of these installations and art pieces may be higher, but if it leads to faster recovery and shorter hospitals stays, which this kind of enrichment has been found to do, then it is a worthy investment.

creativity · play

Bored Coworkers Recreate Classic Paintings Using Office Supplies | DeMilked

On a lighter note, I am always appreciative of people who maintain a playful attitude and are able to have fun no matter where they are, even at work:

Francesco Fragomeni and Chris Limbrick found themselves bored at Squarespace’s office in NYC one day so they came up with a fun activity. Using only the stuff found in their office, the two coworkers managed to recreate the famous “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo. They were pretty happy with the results, so they continued recreating iconic paintings, which eventually grew into a project called “Fools Do Art.”Other coworkers started to join into the fun and they began accepting idea submissions from people all around the world. Every recreation, however, has to satisfy two strict rules: it must be made exclusively using things found in the office, and any photo manipulations, if needed, must be made on a smart phone.

Some of these are really creative, and actually a pretty great way to teach people about art (*hint hint school admins*).

Check out all the pics via Bored Coworkers Recreate Classic Paintings Using Office Supplies | DeMilked.

architecture · play

10 Of the Most Unusual Homes in the World | Bored Panda

From Now Playing:

Moving into and setting up your new home is definitely one of the most exciting things – especially for those who never find enough outlets for their ideas and designs. Throughout history, people have gone from caves to huts to castles to blocks of flats – and nowadays, seems like you can find an example of just anything. Some people are forced to get creative because of some physical restrictions – like small or unusual space – while others do so just because.

If you feel like you could use some inspiration to design your future home – or just like checking out the weird ideas some people have – this post is just for you! Would you choose to live in a former church, or a renovated water tower? Or how about a completely transparent house, or one that is a spitting image of the Flintstones’ cave? Check out our selection of world’s weirdest houses and share your thoughts in the comments!

see all ten houses via 10 Of the Most Unusual Homes in the World | Bored Panda.

anthropology · architecture · behavior · community · creativity · design · work

Workstations Designed For Collaboration, Modeled On Friendly Neighborhoods | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

This article brings up an interesting idea of a “forced” playful space. You can certainly encourage creativity and playfulness, but forcing the issue can backfire in a bad way.

“We have recently seen many offices that try to evoke a kind of forced playfulness,” says Sam Hecht, founder of London-based Industrial Facility. “Slides, chill-out zones, ping-pong, or a kind of home-like interior. We were very suspicious of this.”

For his own take on the flexible office system, Hecht and his partner, Kim Colin, adopted a more nuanced approach to getting employees to think fondly of their office–and not view them as places of mandatory drudgery. Locale, for Herman Miller, uses modular pieces that easily adjust in place and height to create what Hecht calls neighborhoods.

more via 1 | Workstations Designed For Collaboration, Modeled On Friendly Neighborhoods | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

I definitely agree that everyone has to buy in or the “playful” environment doesn’t truly exist. A space designated for “play” just becomes a dead zone at work if nobody wants to hang out there, or knows they’ll be scolded by fellow workers for disrupting work, or viewed as “lazy.”

I’m curious to hear more of why the Locale design would make people feel more neighborly. Thoughts? Ideas? Leave them in the comments below.

architecture · creativity · play

Fish-shaped Building Inaugurated in Hyderabad, India

The newly opened National Fisheries Development Board building in Hyderabad, India, designed to resemble a fish.

via Fish-shaped Building Inaugurated in Hyderabad, India.

I like the playfulness of the Fisheries team, at least. And it’s actually clever advertising to boot. Hopefully they won’t want to move for a few years, since I’m not sure who else might need a fish-shaped building. But it sure is a fun thing to see as you walk into work everyday.