In the past few days, I have come across some pretty amazing schools for children. It's so wonderful seeing educators and designers working together to create amazing environments that make children excited to learn.
A boy (Mika age 6) and a girl (Anna-Lena age 5) wanted to elope in the sunshine in Africa. So after a long New Years eve, the pair snuck out and headed for the train station. Although they had no passports or money, the love birds knew that they needed a witness to get hitched. The last addition to the operation was Anna-Lena's 7 year old sister. They got as far as the airport before the police got wise to the trio and offered them a free tour of the police station. The last two lines of this story are the best : Although any marriage plans have been put on hold for now, police did not altogether rule out the possibility of an African wedding. "They can still put their plan into action at a later date," AFP quoted the spokesman as saying.
Gensler Architect firm designed a children's retail concept store by the name of Baroue in Kuwait. Baroue means "role play" in Kuwaiti - seeks to create a lifestyle environment that caters to a child's desire for exploration, recreation and self- expression. Aside from toys, salons and food catered to kids, Baroue also feature radio frequency identification system (RFID) with viewing console units to allow parents to locate younger children anywhere in the store.
I know I said that I would not be back until tomorrow but the latest issue of LMNOP has come out and I could not help myself. This issue is fantastic. It's filled with amazing finds, great features and dope photography. There is a great piece on Chicago with kids as well. Make sure to hit page 17...... it's my contributing piece on Paris!
70°N is an architecture firm from Norway. Back in 1996, they took part in a competition to build 2 kindergartens in Tromsø. They won both. The kindergarten in Fjellvegen was completed in March 2006 and the kindergarten in Lars Thøringsveg in September 2006. The kindergartens have been built to have the possibility of variety in the use of rooms. With very simple moves one can change each room into new rooms of various sizes and functions. There are several options for combinations and joint actions of rooms and spaces.
Both teachers and students can change the environment as needed. I really want this type of thinking in more American schools.
Die Baupiloten is a programme run by Susanne Hofmann to give architectural students of the Technical University of Berlin practical experience of building. Its first job has been the rehabilitation of the Erika Mann Elementary School in Wedding, Germany, one of the poorest parts of the city and afflicted by over 50 per cent unemployment. The old building is a typical product of the Bismarckian welfare state, solid but most unwelcoming. The students decided to transform it into a fairy tale. The “Baupiloten” together with the pupils developed created the imaginary landscape of the Silver Dragon to serve as the basis of an expressive and playful architecture: the further you get into the school building, the stronger you feel the spirit of the Silver Dragon - a spirit which alters, resonates, glows and shimmers. A sensuous architecture, socially engaged and experimental.
Out of the three amazing floors, my favorite is the second floor. The dragon prepares for flight on the second floor, where bathed in pink light, elements reminiscent of wings fold down from the walls to provide small study areas.
Here is their inspiration picture:
Here is the outcome. Bravo.
Hardly anyone knows that a secret tunnel runs deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. In May 2008, more than a century after it was begun, the tunnel has finally been completed. An extraordinary optical device called a Telectroscope has been installed at both ends which miraculously allows people to see right through the Earth from London to New York and vice versa. Ok, so that's not actually the truth. But the story sounds pretty amazing. Paul St George has brought two cities together...in real time...24-7 via his Telectroscope. So, take the kids and head down to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn before its exit June 15th.
I'm off to Paris kids. I'm packing up the family and switching houses with complete strangers! Mid-trip, we will take a train to Amsterdam to meet up with Matt and his lovely family for the weekend. Once back in Paris, I've been instructed by my daughter that we must find the very best playground in town. I'm excited to introduce her to Chausson aux Pommes and fresh markets. We are looking forward to a playdate with Marie, checking out the Louvre's special section as recommended by Andy, and doing some shopping at Balouga.
So as you can imagine, I will not be in front of my computer for the next 14 days. While we are gone, we are missing some pretty special events and birthdays. So Natasha, Michele, and Ella Joy (turns 2) - may this next year bring you much joy, success and happiness. Tonight we will miss our are friends Lauren and Pascal perform at Joe's Pub as well as Olafur Eliasson's preview at PS1 and the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. And I think the Pope is here so I'm glad to miss the cluster mess in the city!
If anyone has recommendations for family fun in Paris or Amsterdam, let me know. Otherwise, stroll through the sites I like on the right or in the archives to the left. I'll be back in May with a fresh smile and plenty to share.
(image : Saul Bass Henri's Walk to Paris via Grain Edit)
Babymoov has come out with the Micromoov stroller. It can be folded into a suitecase with wheels and handle to pull. This is even great for us New Yorkers who are in and out of taxis and subways with strollers.
Heading to France, England, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Wales, or Portugal with the your mini? Look to Baby-Friendly Boltholes to give you the latest in baby-friendly hotels and their offerings. You can search for places that offer baby-sitting, baby equipment, playgrounds, spas, meal delivery, toys/books, creche, pools, and even farm animals. (the last one is a bit out there but some kids love petting zoos).
Hotel FOX is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dubbed the world's most exciting and creative lifestyle hotel, they took 61 rooms, 21 artists, and 1,000 ideas to create this amazing hotel. From fantastic street art and Japanese Manga to simply spaced out fantasies. You will find flowers, fairytales, friendly monsters, dreaming creatures, secrets vaults and… an amazing place to take the family! They have four room sizes to choose from that range from $320-$160 night. I wanted to show the more kid-fun rooms but no worries, there are more sophisticated rooms for the grown ups.
A unique presentation of Southern Africa’s rich artistic traditions, Mahatsara features the indigenous Arts and Crafts of Madagascar, South Africa, and soon, of other nearby countries, exploring their ethnic inspiration and celebrating their appeal in contemporary design. Some of the pieces that I find particularly interesting are the Ndebele dolls from the tribe of it's own name in South Africa. Other favorites are the papier-mâché animals, the "haute couture" embroidered bears, the felt rock cushion and pebble carpet by Ronel Jordaan. I think the cushion and rug would work really well in an indoor playspace in front of a fort or playhouse.
In architecture, a folly is a building constructed strictly as a decoration, having none of the usual purposes of housing or sheltering associated with a conventional structure. So it was Ward Huting & Gerard de Hoop, of Huting & de Hoop, commissioned mission to build a modern folly for a modern park for the Noorderzon Festival in the Netherlands.
"Although this folly, like other true follies, does not have a particular function, it does have a use. Whether you wish to sit on it or climb on it, we advise you to come and discover the possibilities of this unique construction, and allow your imagination to be carried off."
Are the Netherlands too far for you? Well, just travel out to Margate, NJ and catch a glimpse of a local folly named Lucy the Elephant! (she's 65ft tall and made of wood)
(via Moco Loco)
If you are in the LA area with your mini, go check out LACMA's Boone Children's Gallery Not only is it free, but it's filled with tons of activities all geared towards exploration, building, design, collaboration and imagination. Your mini can draft floor plans, drawing, and a building model all in one sitting. There are tons of building materials and blocks as well as drafting tables and paints. A perfect activity on a rainy afternoon!
While in Los Angeles this weekend, we checked out the Murakami show at the MOCA. It was a perfect rainy afternoon and my daughter really had a blast. Full of visual stimulation and playful banter, this show is not to be missed if you are in the area. There are just a handful of questionable art for the youngsters but nothing serious enough to make you stay home. We did have a funny moment though. You know the movie Christmas Story where the dad gets the leg lamp and the little boy tries to feel it up? Well, my daughter saw this figure below and walked right up to it and tried to feel up this ladies leg in amazement. I don't know which gave me more of a chuckle, her face when she was thinking she was getting away with touching art or the security guards face when he came running over to her. (Mind you, I did not encourage her to touch your art Mr. Murakami.... we were across the room)
See you there!!! "Don’t miss the first international show for exciting new design for kids and adults. Forget fairy wings, Bratz bed tents and Thomas the Tank Engine toy trunks, Kids.Modern is about fun, thought-provoking design adults will love and kids remember for life. Appreciating that children not only deserve modern design, they understand it and can remember it as a positive childhood experience, Showhome has spent the last year sourcing the UK, Europe and Scandinavia to bring together some of the most exciting products from over 50 clever designers and producers at Kids.Modern. Brilliant ideas for a design-hungry, Ikea-weary public."
UPDATE : see my recap here.
SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY 2008
Christison Hall Dulwich College London SE21
Sunday 24th February 2008
£5 entry for public and trade on door.
The Odakyu Train Line in Tokyo held a "Train Design Contest" for children all over Japan. This was in commemoration of their 80th anniversary. At the close of the contest, two actual trains were decorated in the winning illustrations on the outside. On the inside you could view the over 2,500 submissions spread throughout the train cars. The two talented winners were Nanako Kato's "Let's All Ride Together" and Kazutera Maehira's bright landscape featuring Mount Fiji. The kid’s train designs will be on the Odakyu Line between Shinjuku and Shin-Matsuda and the Tama Line between Shin-Jiyugaoka and Karakida until the end of March, 2008. To read more about it please check out this article over at Ping Mag.
Carve is a multidisciplinary design and engineering firm which exceeds in the art of planning the public space. Public space that is geared towards children. Though 10 years old, their resume is quite impressive. From skate parks to playgrounds to play structures to sport yards to schools, Carve has my vote for best efforts in getting a child's imagination thriving and cognitive thirst quenched. Amsterdam is no longer just a playground for adults!
The town of Melborne actually. Arthur's Circus specializes in vintage toys, collectables, and lighting. The store's motto is "nostalgia ain't what it used to be." Although the website offers no e-commerce, I'm certain an email or phone call could get you those little vintage toy cars and soldiers you've been searching for.
We are off to Hawaii. Myself, my beautiful daughter and amazing husband are off to the islands until Dec. 20th. This will be the first time that myself and my daughter have ever been. If you have any tips or advice for fun things to do with a 3.5 yr old...let me know. As I have a few posts in the que to keep your attention, it will be very minimal during this time.
Thank you everyone for stopping by. It's been really fun getting the blog off the ground. I have gotten some really great feedback. So please drop me a line, post comments or just take a stroll through the blog. If you see something you like, link away!
WOOF! LOVE, in collaboration with Kiel ONGG, is a project where they have taken the Magis Puppy and given one to local artists to design for charity. The proceeds go towards Action For Singapore Dogs (ASD). This event was inspired by one that took place in Miami a while back that featured such designers as Herzog & Meuron, Jaser Morrison, Ingo Mauer, and Marcel Wanders. The proceeds from that one went to the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Now, I have no clue who these artist are from Singapore (which means nothing) and I'm not quite sure that this is a cause that will indeed benefit from the proceeds. I'm all for charities and animals rights but I think this one might fall on deaf ears. I applaud their efforts and hope for change in Singapore's animal rights effort.
Can someone at Muji help me with this. I'm confused. If you offer such an amazing line of children's products, then why on earth can we not buy them in the US? Are you still mad at us? Perhaps you're just waiting to unveil a bigger and better collection at the flagship store uptown? I guess for now, heading over the pond will have to do.
BAPE KIDS is a children's boutique that opened last year in Harajuku, Tokyo. They have a dope selection of kids wear that ranges from jeans to shoes to jackets. Although most of the line is geared towards boys, there are some pretty rad kicks for the little ladies. The store was designed by Wonderwall Inc. The insane designers behind the UNIQLO stores. For this flagship store, Wonderwall created a pool for the kids made out of soft bananas.
Restaurant Praq is an eatery in the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, just 10 minutes from Amsterdam. the concept behind this design driven space considers more than just adults and their taste buds. it caters to children as well. they have a kids only section which consists of kid tables, kid only menus, crafts, toys and a giant puzzle wall. here, the kids in the restaurant get a sense of independant and social grace while the parents are in clear view and enjoying their meal as well. i love this concept. perhaps this will be my next endeavor!