Now more than ever, we need beautiful things in the world. Which is why we’re so lucky to be treated to the totally gorgeous “white sea,” a forest architecture installation in Guangdong, China, where Beijing-based design studio Unarchitecte has strung nets among massive trees, allowing visitors to hang out and climb (safely) between the branches. The Climbing Park of Luofu Mountain, as it’s known, will give you the chills — seriously, the pictures are literally incredible.
According to Inhabitat, a local school affiliated with the Luofu Mountain Chinese Classics Institute was seeking a way to help its students be more active, and approached Unarchitecte to build a play place within the Luofu Mountain valley. Lead architect Zhang Heitan and the team of designers took inspiration from nature and wanted to build an area “that promotes a closer connection with nature,” according to Inhabitat. In an architects’ statement, Inhabitat reported, designers said they “[connected] the trees in the valley by hundreds of diverse white triangle nets to constitute a combination of various topological folding surfaces like a ‘white sea’ for children to swim carefree.” So, it’s kind of like the jungle gyms you played on when you were a kid — only set inside an ethereal forest among the trees, far above the floor. Very casual.
In their statement, the architects explained that “A forest can become a place for children to return to nature, to explore and to think, to sweat and to sit still alone. In the nature, they can forget themselves and can also search for their inner selves.”
“Thanks to the system, children have intimate access to the great nature in different height, to make houses for squirrels, to sing with birds and to enjoy the sunshine glistening through the leaves. In rough-and-tumble play, they build up friendship and learn to help each other; in silence exposed in nature, they picture the truth of beauty,” the architects wrote in their statement.
As shown in photos of the installation, the nets are arranged at various angles, giving climbers horizontal and vertical challenges. Nets also form playground-like structures, including what’s essentially a giant water slide, and a central platform allows folks to stand and observe. Basically, it’s the world’s coolest jungle gym, and you get to enjoy it while feeling like you’re starring in the fantasy universe of your choice. (For me, that’d be Ferngully, but you can take your pick.)
Some nets connect to metal support poles, but plenty are connected to the trees themselves. Don’t worry about the trees, though. “Careful consideration was taken to protect existing healthy trees during the construction process, while precautions were also taken to avoid damaging tree growth,” Inhabitat reported. So, the project is not only incredibly beautiful, but sustainable as well.
If you’re looking to take a trip to this stunning installation in honor of Earth Month, you can start by making your way to Hong Kong, which is in the same province as Luofu Mountain. From there, you can make your way to the city of Guangzhou, where buses run daily from the city to the mountain, according to Travel China Guide. The mountain is a famed Taoist pilgrimage site, with multiple temples and grottos that are accessible via cable car, according to TripAdvisor.
If you’re looking for a similar experience with lodging built in, the Nothofagus hotel and spa in Chile also caters to those looking for an immersive forest experience. The hotel, which is located inside the Huilo Huilo biological reserve, is a literal treehouse, with its main lobby space inside a mushroom-like structure rising out of a clearing in the middle of the forst, and rentable rooms spanning out throughout the forest, where you can also plan to hike, raft, and more.
But most of us will have to be content with admiring the beautiful images of the climbing park from afar, since it’s so remote. Luckily, with the architects mission to help users take in nature, we might be able to enjoy a little bit of their message through photos alone.
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