Sail Boxes, by Virginia Melnyk, in The Lawn on D, Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Stories, movies, and books about time travel have fascinated us and sparked our curiosity ever since we were children. Not a few scientists, physicists, authors, and dreamers have devoted their work to the mission of finding or creating a time machine. Think of Ray Bradbury and his novel “Dandelion Wine”. The main characters in the book — both adults and children — try to capture all of the joyful and pleasant moments from summer in a bottle of wine — a bottle that could take them back to summer once the cold, unfriendly winter comes. Don’t play installations do the same thing? Don’t they transport adults back to their childhood and whisk children off to dreamlands and fairytale worlds? Can a temporary play structure become a time machine? Why not even a happiness machine?Find out how Virginia Melnyk, a young artist and architect, has represented the intersection between art and architecture in a most playful, bright, and cheerful way – through the design of Sail Boxes.
The Sail Boxes
Bearing a highly positive charge, the Sail Boxes have taken part in Boston Play Day 2015 at the Lawn on D. Along with other innovative play sculptures, activities, games, and works of art, the Sail Boxes have contributed significantly to building the project’s atmosphere of imaginary and animated activities, reconnecting old and young through the art of play.
Colors, Fabrics, and Bamboo
Designed to accommodate not only children but adults as well, the size of the structure is just tall enough to offer a unique experience for every age group. “Bright and colorful spandex fabric stretches over a box-like bamboo framework to create a unique play experience, which offers a diverse range of interactions,” is how Melnyk introduces the Sail Boxes on her website.Composed of box frames of two sizes, the play structure creates an asymmetrical body, which encourages discovery, creativity, and curiosity while users explore the opportunities for play. The triangular fabric sheets can make kids feel “trapped” in a colorful maze, encouraging them to push and pull the textile and interact with the fittings. Those who get tired of playing can relax and have a rest under the shadows of the Sail Boxes’ small nooks.
Safe but Funny
Now that we have introduced you to the main concept of the play structure, it’s time to take a look at the details. It is important to note that the bamboo framework units are connected via PVC joints, which provide on-site assembly in a quick and easy way. One more advantage the PVC connections offer is their smooth surface with rounded corners, posing no threat to children who might bump into them.As to the funny aspect of the boxes, at first it appears visually through the vivid colors of the sails. After that, when one is already attracted, a variety of tactile sensations are offered. The hard bamboo frame texture contrasts with the soft feel of the fabric sheets — an exploration heaven for Indiana Jones’ youngest followers. What’s the Icing on the Cake of Sail Boxes? Having gone through most of the advantages the Sail Boxes have to offer over traditional playground equipment, we need to highlight the best and most exciting part of the installation. As we mentioned above, play installations can be fascinatingly magical. What makes the Sail Boxes so special is that they let children and adults decide how to use them. “Because there are no allocated functions to the Sail Boxes, it is up to the users to decide whether they create competitive games to see who can navigate from one side to the other first, or whether they host an imaginary tea party in one of the hidden nooks of fabric,” Melnyk says. Imagination is the only limit. Traveling in Space and Time One more enchantment the Sail Boxes carry is revealed when the structure is not in use. Then, the fabrics flutter like a sail, driven by the wind, luring kids to jump in and begin their journey. In this way, they can travel through their limitless, imaginative worlds, feeling safe on a variegated sail. Sail Boxes can also travel for real, due to the simple cube assembly, which also allows for diverse combinations to be constructed. Consequently, the temporary play installation can change its organization and provide a continuously changing program.
New Typology for Play Structures
Having discussed in detail the playful and whimsical design of the Sail Boxes, we would like to know your opinion. Has Melnyk managed to find the intersection point between art and architecture? Is her play structure something more than just traditional playground equipment? Ingenious, whimsical, and lively – those three words describe the Sail Boxes best, and they can help you answer the questions above.
Full Project Credits For The Sail Boxes
Project Name: Sail Boxes Location: The Lawn on D, Boston, Massachusetts, United States Designer: Virginia Melnyk Website: www.virginiamelnyk.com Recommended Reading:
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Farrs
Article by Velislava Valcheva Return to HomepagePublished in