Iconic Visitor Created Paper Structures

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This company specializes in creating simple geometric forms that visitors can assemble and combine into large integrated structures. Could apply to Maker, Engineering, Art, Physics content, among others, as well as special themed events (i.e. a riff on Cardboard City). They don’t seem to be exploiting the decoration aspect of such structures, which could add richness, originality and personalization to the work. They also produce a variety of small Maker style projects i.e. individual stools or lamps, that would seem to be nearly fool proof yet satisfying activities. Hat tip to Joseph for this one.

Here’s the company:

http://www.collectivepaperaesthetics.com/

And a post on a recent installation:

http://retaildesignblog.net/2015/06/13/paper-installation-by-collective-paper-aesthetics-at-polytech-festival-2015-moscow-russia/

A few pics from various projects below:

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Lego Building

Came across 2 lego building exhibits recently, one great and one terrible, and I think they are instructive. First the great one, it’s called Legos: Towers of Tomorrow and was created by a museum in Sydney. What’s working here?

  • Clean, well lit, inviting space. Activity focus is clear
  • Nicely designed work areas-the lit center lego “pond” bins are a nice touch
  • Iconic inspiration structures build into work areas
  • Location for visitor built structures to be displayed / celebrated (center round table)
  • Nice balance in space density, plenty of room to move around but still dense enough to feel rich and active
  • Simple but effective, large scenic wall graphics
  • The fact that so much space is dedicated to this simple activity elevates it in a way that makes it feel special and focuses attention on the act of building
  • Design easily accommodates group or open general public mode
  • Gallery is probably ~ 3000 sq ft, and I’d be surprised if the furniture, graphics, and models cost more than $100,000 total. That’s $33/ sq ft. And if the models were donated, total cost might be half that

http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/exhibitions/towers-tomorrow

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Nice TimeLapse of space in use during one day:

Here’s another version of the same idea, from the Toytopia exhibit currently at Orlando Science Center. What’s not working here:

  • Poor space planning, feels plopped down in sea of other displays, hard to focus on the activity with this space / furniture design -it feels like an afterthought.
  • Building area and prop storage occupy the same space, which is messy and uninviting
  • Inspiration elements in the display case are not very inspiring
  • No place for visitor build structures to be displayed or celebrated

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The scale of these two exhibits are different, so the size comparison might be unfair, but that aside, one can imagine the concept description or SD activity narrative for these two experiences sounded very similar. The outcomes are different (I believe) because one execution shows a focus on inspiring visitors and designing an experience that caters to their aspirations and needs (and probably spend a decent amount of time polishing that idea) while the other was just phoned in -someone wrote down “open-ended Lego building activity” and that sounded good enough (visitors like to build with legos and open-ended experiences are always educationally valid, right?), but there wasn’t any respect for visitor usage or desire to inspire in the design execution, so the result is a display that’s essentially ignored, lost in a sea of other mediocre displays that don’t hold anyone’s interest for very long. – Sean

Seating Options: Freek, Norvanivel, Ten Jam

Came across some new seating suppliers for playrooms and children’s museum recently:


Freek – soft / durable urethane seating

This product uses urethane foam for production with the addition of a durable top-coat. The OTS options are interesting but more intriguing is they will create any custom shape or color.

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Norvanivel – commercial grade fabric covered seating

These guys are in Australia but have distributors here in the US.

http://norvanivel.com.au/collections

http://norvanivel.com.au/gallery/

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Ten Jam – plastic & soft foam seating

They offer soft foam seating and hard plastic version, including outdoor commercial grade furniture.

http://www.tenjam.com

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Melbourne “Parent’s Retreat” Playroom

This is an indoor playroom built as an ammedity for a mall in Melbourne, Australia. Speaks to our Steiner and NYC Playroom projects. I like how they integrated some unexpected gross motor elements into what is otherwise a nicely designed but somewhat sterile space. Also note the very pleasant and plentiful nursing areas. Follow the link for several good pics.

– Sean

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http://clarecousins.com.au/projects/parents-retreat-melbourne-central/