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Maxi-Ooh!: architecture / bio-computation / responsive systems / MetaFolliesNovember 15, 2010

Maxi-ooh is a concept design for an innovative playground for kids from 0 to 5 years old in the new Science Museum [MUSE] of Trento. Kids and their parents have here the opportunity to interact and grow together in an exciting and unusual space.

Adults typically make sense of an object and all the sensations it gives them by reference to linguistic and conceptual categories. For new born kids non-linguistic practices [PLAYing] come first and then words, types and meanings materialize as crystallization, hardenings, coagulations in a field of raw sensations, raw intense sounds, colours, aromas, textures, raw feelings of security, friendship or humiliation, frustration…
The space of the MAXI-ooh is therefore designed in relationship to a new ergonomic unit: the Babult.
[1baby + 1adult = 1 BABULT = Unit of playful Learning]
Each BABULT learns by wandering and exploring a continuous space defined by gradual morphologic variations, a smooth space as Deleuze/Guattari would call it. In the MAXI-ooh space is defined by a field of cells of different dimensions and porosity rather than by walls.

In order to foster the growth of new born kids and of their parents, the environment of Maxi-ooh is mainly articulated in horizontal surfaces, the ones preferred by the Babults.
Ground surface is differentiated and folded with the aim of creating an artificial landscape of dunes and niches while all the other structures are hanged up to the ceiling. A forest of water, sounds and smells where the Babults are immersed and can interact with.
Babult is not interested in gadgets or inventions but in communication, he’s not interested in studying but in learning by doing. As a consequence all the interactive systems are integrated in the geometry and in the materials of the project augmenting the embedded intelligence of the environment and the potential of learning of the Babult in a dynamic, intuitive but not-prescriptive way.

Two extreme models of articulations characterize the space of the Maxi-ooh: intensive differences and extensive articulation. The former is represented by microclimatic environments (sound, noise, humidity, light, color, temperature) that generate a series of overlapping gradients in the room; the latter is produced by surface operations in order to create spaces for touching, biting, climbing and wrapping. The combinatorial application of microclimatic gradients and surface operations gives rise to a variety of immersive and playful environment that are seamlessly integrated within the fluid space of MAXI-ooh.

Constant narrates of New Babylon: a limitless city devoted to playfulness and creativity, the breeding ground of the homo ludens, who has finally reached total freedom from any form of “useful” productive work. By playing and inventing New Babylonians manipulate New Babylon’s sectors and are manipulated by their experience of them; a same place is always new.
Like for New Babylon and for the ever-changing surfaces found in nature, the Maxi-ooh will be a landscape forever new for the Babults that will grow with it.

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