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.

Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials | Bored Panda

I love seeing people working WITH their environments to create art.

Sculptural artist Spencer Byles spent a year creating beautiful sculptures out of natural and found materials throughout the unmanaged forests of La Colle Sur Loup (where he lived with his family), Villeneuve Loubet and Mougins. He worked together with elements of his natural surroundings to create artwork that blends seamlessly with the environment.

Byles’ project is intentionally secretive – the only way you’ll see these work short of his photos is by going into the woods and finding them yourself. I imagine that coming upon such a fantastic structure unexpectedly in the woods is sure to be quite a magical surprise.

One of the most beautiful things about his work is its temporary nature. The pieces were not intended to last, and each sculpture will eventually be reclaimed by the natural environment that helped Byles shape it. This full circle gives the organic pieces a powerful poetic and philosophical touch.

more via Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials | Bored Panda.

Los Angeles has Cancer — Stephen Corwin on Medium

This is a scathing opinion piece looking at the negative influences of space and place, specifically cars and car culture. Corwin argues passionately against the takeover of cars in to the city space and how it is anything BUT enriching. It is full of examples of what NOT to do, and therefore offers suggestions on how to solve it.

Our experiences driving cars in this city are, for the most part, fleeting. We drive somewhere, we get out of the car, we close the door, and we walk away. But to think that we can escape the world that cars have created as easily as we escape the car itself is foolish. In fact, when we leave our cars, we walk into that world. We have to live in that putrid mess.

Let’s talk about how Los Angeles is a city where construction projects can fence off whole blocks, including the sidewalks, without offering people on foot an alternative. Let’s talk about how when that happens, no one even considers converting one of the two car lanes into a temporary sidewalk, because dear god, that might cause slight inconvenience to people in cars. And let’s talk about how ironic it is that inconveniencing people in cars is the end of the world, but doing the same to people on foot is a non-issue. Then let’s talk about how when frustrated walkers decide to use the car lane rather than take the ridiculous detour, the city’s totally acceptable solution to that problem is not to concede space to those people, but rather to bolt permanent, metal signs into the middle of the sidewalk to keep them from doing so. That is cancer.

read the whole thing via Los Angeles has Cancer — Medium.

It is worth a read.

The story of the world’s largest, most beloved laundromat

scientiste:

A usually lifeless, boring facility to house a tedious chore has been become a friendly, playful, inviting “third place” for the community.

Originally posted on Quartz:

This post originally appeared at The Distance. You can listen here:

The World’s Largest Laundromat has 301 washers and dryers. It has 15 finches and miniature doves living in an aviary next to the bill-changing machines. It has a play area with a big roll of white butcher paper for drawing and a plastic replica of Snoopy’s doghouse that rocks and lights up for 50 cents. The World’s Largest Laundromat is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never closes—not for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or when the temperature drops so low that area schools shut down. Tom Benson, the owner, doesn’t even know how to lock the building.

“I don’t have a key,” Benson says. “There is no key! Everything’s automatic doors, and they’re always on.”

[pullquote]“I don’t have a key,” Benson says. “There is no key! Everything’s automatic doors, and they’re always on.”[/pullquote]

A laundromat of…

View original 2,234 more words

City-wide public art project invites residents and visitors to talk to Austin’s street furniture | AustinTexas.gov – The Official Website of the City of Austin

Austin is a city with a strong arts culture, and is continuing to showcase that:

The hidden life of Austin’s street furniture will come to light next month with the launch of Hello Lamp Post, an international art project created by London-based designers Pan Studio which invites people to strike up conversations with familiar objects around the city using text messaging.

Hello Lamp Post is a city-wide platform for play that allows participants to talk to the city’s infrastructure and share stories using the text messaging function on any mobile phone – no smart phones required. People can interact with any object they choose, in any part of the city, because the project utilizes the thousands of pre-existing identifier codes that label items of street furniture, including (but not limited to) lamp posts, mail boxes, moontowers, utility boxes, manholes, or telephone poles

more via City-wide public art project invites residents and visitors to talk to Austin’s street furniture | AustinTexas.gov – The Official Website of the City of Austin.

If you are in or near Austin, the public is invited to a free kick-off event, complete with drinks and bites, February 12, 4-6 p.m. at Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe Street.

A short video about the project, starring the streets of Austin, is available now at http://www.hellolamppostaustin.com.

Building Fun into Work (Just Don’t Call it Gamification)

People seem pretty sick of the idea of “Gamification” of things. But here’s the rub: a lot of jobs need to be more fun. And can be made more fun. And technology can have a strong hand in doing that.

One of the best pieces of advice a boss of mine ever received, he said, was that “people like getting points.” Even if the points don’t culminate in anything, just having the most points on a forum board or in an app is a great feeling for people.

History of Mario Museum from Deloitte Digital

Ambition (for example) focuses specifically on gamifying the performance of sales teams. Its software provides customers with a dashboard full of real-time metrics, such as calls made or leads generated or emails opened.

Through Ambition dashboards, employees (and of course, their managers) can track performance in relation to individual and team goals on their computers and mobile devices. The software syncs with a company’s CRM technology, as well as phone systems and spreadsheets and any other tools an organization might use. The cost is between $20 and $30 per employee per month.

Using whatever metrics a client wants to track, the software creates an Ambition Score, which is an aggregate of all the metrics. A score of 100 means an employee or team has reached every benchmark for a given time period.

more via The Hot Software Niche in Search of a New Name.

My company is currently working on creating a way to gamify a frankly otherwise quite boring piece of learning, specifically for employees only.

Many kids enjoy cleaning up their toys if you make it a race.

What are some surprising ways you’ve seen fun and play incorporated into an otherwise boring task? Leave it in the comments below.

How schools ruined recess — and four things needed to fix it – The Washington Post

I am aghast at how much structure and lack of free play is out there for kids, “for their safety.”

What if we let children fully move their bodies during recess time, let them get dirty, and even test out new theories? What would recess look like then?

The closest I found to doing just that was the Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand. I had heard of its nonconventional, yet successful approach to recess through social media and was instantly intrigued. Since I was already going to be in New Zealand for TimberNook, I decided to meet Swanson’s principal, Bruce McLachlan, in person.

We spent a good hour talking over coffee about his now-famous recess. His recess has gotten international attention, because he did something radical: he got rid of the rules. And guess what? When the rules left, so did their “behavior issues.” He saw more independence, improved creativity, healthy risk-taking, less falling, better coordination, and improved attention in the classroom.

There were four main ways he changed his recess in order to see these improvements. Four things that I happen to successfully use in my program as well to enhance child development and inspire creativity. Think of them as a recipe.

Read the 4 things at How schools ruined recess — and four things needed to fix it – The Washington Post.

I’ll wait…

Ok, so now that you’ve read them (and hopefully the full article later), I totally agree and feel like all of those are missing, but especially space and time. Creating playful spaces and allowing that boredom and downtime is crucial.

 

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.

City of Play Director Adam Nelson on Designing Play for a City

I have run into the same challenges or questions as Adam Nelson in my play research, so I am glad to hear it expressed by someone else. It’s from a year ago, but still good stuff.

City of Play Director Adam Nelson discusses City of Play’s philosophy on using play to make cities better places to live and work.

via City of Play – Ignite Pittsburgh – YouTube.

McDonald’s will be accepting hugs, calls to mom, and dance moves as payment

OK, so YES it is being sponsored by a huge megacorporation. YES it is a total gimmick. But it is such a COOL gimmick.

“That will be five hugs, please.”

Randomly selected McDonald’s customers will have the opportunity to pay for their meals with various tasks — such as doing a dance or calling their mom — between Feb. 2 and Feb. 14. The deal is outlined in a Super Bowl ad from the company, above, which will air on Sunday but is already posted on its YouTube page.

So, for example, breakfast might cost a fist bump to a McDonald’s crew member; lunch could be paid for with a call to a loved one; and dinner could go for a hug to a family member. But there will only be 100 winners at each store.

more via McDonald’s will be accepting hugs and dance moves as payment. (Mashable)

Last week I also posted about a major paint company that promoted their paint via enabling the handicapped in China to blow up paint balloons onto a canvas.

While to some it may feel “icky” to have mega-sized companies counting this kind of self-congratulating promotion as “spreading the love” or even “charity work,” frankly I am just happy that anyone, either an individual or a giant corporation, is taking steps to making their spaces a little bit happier and more enriching. Companies spend millions of dollars to make their customers happy, so why not spend a little bit of that on a smile?

When has a corporation made your day better, either through a promotion or just because an employee took some time to acknowledge you? Leave it in the comments below.