The Patient Gardener

My time to work on Wonderlust has been incredibly pressed recently as things with Cultivate are taking off (very exciting, but very busy!), but I had to share this with you, it’s one of the most clever, fantastical things I’ve seen in a while.

Swedish architects VisionDivision have dreamed up and planted the beginnings of what will become a beautiful resting spot in Milan after the ten Japanese Cherry Trees have grown up and been pruned and shaped into this structure.

But it won’t be done for 100 years! Hence the name.

I actually love that it will take 100 years. Everything in our culture is so oriented towards instant gratification, and it’s a lovely reminder that some things of beauty and value, like trees, cannot be sped up or gotten to via shortcuts. They must grow on their own time and be lovingly taken care of and tended to in order to become something magnificent.

Did you notice in the images above that some of the branches will be shaped into a ladder, and others into basket-weave shapes for sitting on?

via Dezeen

It’s Hammock Time

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that terrible MC Hammer-inspired pun for the title. But don’t let that detract you, this is really cool!

Above is a public space, like a park, but it’s a structure, built in Vienna and filled with four stories of hammocks. Just ‘cuz. If public spaces are meant to enhance one’s enjoyment of a city, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the view than relaxing in a hammock looking out at the city.

It’s a temporary structure, only there until October, but not to fear, it’s not going to demolished– it will simply change owners and move to a new location. Designed by these architects.

Also, in other hammock news… YES, there is other hammock news! What a fun day that there is news about hammocks!

Anyway, the first item is this: Brazilian artist Narcelio Grud installed hammocks around Manchester’s town center, with the sole intention of creating enjoyment interventions in people’s days, much like this swing project. I love it, and I love that there are people like that to do things like that in this world.

And item B: hammocks induce better sleep, says NPR. It made me think, maybe for future houseguests in our cozy little apartment (read: kind of too small for guests), maybe rather than offering the couch, we could find a way to string up a hammock for sleeping!


Street Art + 3D + Band Poster

To promote their new single, “Horses,” British band Dry the River teamed up with FOAM and Xavier Barade to make these 3D paper posters. Yes, paper.

In addition to being a brilliant promotional move and twist on the traditional poster, I also love that once “in the wild,” these function like 3D street art… something I haven’t seen too much of!

I loved these at first site, but three things made me love them more:

1) They are made of paper. 2) They were created using Google Sketchup. #1 + #2 means an awesome intersection of handmade, crafty, tangible, and cool tech tools. 3) They went one step further after creating them (they took 35 hours each) and installing them and made this video below showing them in their habitats and the reactions of passersby. #ilovevideocontent

With so much to love, the music was sort of an afterthought for me, but I do like the song!

Finally, how do I get my hands on one of these??

Via/more info here.

Arcade Fire + Chris Milk

I so wish I had been at Coachella for this.

Director Chris Milk, as part of The Creator’s Project, along with Moment Factory, created this interactive visual experience during Arcade Fire’s last song at Coachella by releasing big “balloons” embedded with LEDs and IR transmitters that they used to make them change colors with the music.

Check out the video to hear/see more!

If you haven’t seen The Wilderness Downtown video/project by Chris Milk for Arcade Fire, definitely check that out too!

Photo at left above by flickr user Critical Thought, others are stills.

The Swings Project

This kind of thing is exactly the reason I started Wonderlust. This random act of creativity just made my day.

Last year, Jeff Waldman and a few friends were talking about the simple joy of swings. Out of that conversation around a coffee table evolved a project to hang swings all over San Francisco “as a part of an ongoing Happiness Project aimed at a loss of youth.”

…And then they took the project to LA, the Marshall Islands, and Panama. Now they’re headed for Bolivia through this Kickstarter project, which received over 200% funding (!), all with the goal of adding a little moments of happiness to people’s lives.

Here’s more about the the mission from his kickstarter page: It’s a universal message. An appeal to celebrate the passions of our youth, to give in to simplistic urges, but mostly, to remind people of the difference a smile can make in their day and the infectious effect that smile has on those they encounter.


Check out the video below to see lots more examples of places the swings have been hung and how the whole process happened.

Waldman has done other such projects, including this Mother’s Day Project where he installed supplies on public mailboxes, including prepaid postage envelopes, for sending your mother a card.

Also, their mission of putting smiles on people’s faces reminded me of this great little TED talk about the power of smiling. Did you know that a person’s smile can predict their lifespan or their marriage? And that children smile over 400 times a day on average? And that a smiling actually makes you feel happier?


Finally, this also led me to discover The Awesome Foundation (they funded the LA Swings project), which gives $1000 grants to “furthers the interest of awesome in the universe– in other words, they give out $1000 to projects they think are cool, no strings attached. Oh the things I would do if I were rich. Actually, I think I would probably just spend tons of time on Kiva and Kickstarter and IndieGoGo… there are so many productive ways to give your money away on the interweb these days!

Jaume Plensa, Pt. II

Remember Catalan artist Jaume Plensa’s giant figures constructed of steel letters from this post?

Plensa now has an exhibit of recent works at the Yorkshire Sculpture Garden in the UK, including this incredible wire mesh piece above that I hadn’t seen before, as well as the letterform-figures below. For more about Plensa’s reasoning behind using letters (and hence language) in creating his figures, check out the previous post and this interview.

I loved this bit below from the interview about his use of letters…


These are metaphors for the concept that life is permanently tattooing our bodies. Every second, every moment, our experiences are tattooed on our skin. But the ink is transparent. And then, suddenly you may encounter somebody who can read it and will give you feedback.

Photos from this BBC piece.


Before I die…

Installation artist and urban planner Candy Chang is a believer that “our public spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as residents and as human beings.”

In her own neighborhood, she created a very literal interpretation of this idea when she turned the side of an abandoned building in her neighborhood into a chalkboard (after obtaining many permits) with the statement “Before I die …” with blanks for people to fill in repeated over and over.

According to Chang, the response was overwhelming. People were constantly filling in answers, and each time the wall filled up, Chang would document all the answers, wash the wall, and let the process begin again.

The home has now been purchased, but the couple who bought it are fans of the project and have agreed to let it continue while they obtain permitting for renovation.

But even once construction begins, the project will not end. People around the country have emailed Chang asking her to do this in their cities, so she is putting together a kit that people can purchase with all the materials and instructions for how to execute the project on their own.

Myeongbeom Kim

These surrealist installations by Myeongbeom Kim that point out the vast distinctions between our manmade world and the natural world, and strict boundaries around the ways that we expect them to interact, made me look. I love the touch of humor. I would be so thrilled if elevator doors open and there was a Christmas tree planted inside.



SF Mirrors Project

Artist Akin Bilgic is on a mission to add a little inspiration to the streets of San Francisco by pasting these mirrors inscribed with motivating, hopeful, and/or cheeky messages all over the city.


He wants to put up as many as possible, so he’s set up a Kickstarter page with a video about the project to raise the money to make more of them, and so far he’s raised almost $900. Isn’t Kickstarter brilliant? I love thinking about all the passion projects that will be funded because of Kickstarter.


If a Xylophone is Played in a Forest…

Some days, my drafts folder is overflowing, full of posts just waiting to be published, and other days, the inspiration just isn’t flowing. That’s how I was feeling today, until I came across this clever project/video/ad that put a smile on my face:

A giant wood xylophone in a forest. Sure. Why not.

It’s for the new Touch Wood cell phone by Smart. (Which will be made from “locally sourced cypress trees” – somehow I don’t see how the “locally sourced” argument works for logging. Is it any better because it’s local?) But I don’t care. I still love this random, random installation.

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