Posted by on January 14, 2012

Like pretty much everyone, as a very young child I did not get motion sickness.  I could spin around and around and then just fall down to the grass and watch the sky slowly right itself.  I don’t remember exactly when this changed, but change it did.  By the time I was 17 I couldn’t even swing on the playground for more than a minute without feeling woozy.

The situation is best exemplified by what happened at Elitches my senior year in high school.  I was with a group of friends (including the boy I had liked for two years) we went on a ride that uses centrifugal force to hold human bodies to the sides of what can only be described as a large, latex lined, barrel.  We were all nauseated afterwards.   We sat around for about an hour, before realizing that we were wasting our day and heading over the the pirate ship.  Where I threw up (strawberry soda and a poppy seed muffin [you’re welcome]).  I am making myself dizzy just thinking about it.

The funny thing, is I was not embarrassed.  I think it is partly because we were all feeling woozy, so everyone else was sympathetic, and partly because it was spring of senior year and I was riding a wave of awesome.

Since that day I have not ridden any spinning rides.  I flat out refuse.  When I get to the part of the story with the strawberry soda, people have either wandered away in boredom or are disgusted enough to let it drop.  I still love roller coasters.

So, it is with mixed feelings that I contemplate the Ultralight Centrifugal Pavilion.  This outdoor installation is comprised of three umbrella structures connected to several merry-go-rounds.  People spin themselves on the merry-go-rounds and the energy is transferred to the umbrellas, as the poles spin the umbrellas unfurl.  The spinning also powers lights in the center of each umbrella that illuminate the gold linings and the people sitting below.   If I were there, I would not be able to participate.  It looks pretty great.

The Spanish practice Clavel Arquitectos is responsible for this interactive installation in the Shenzhen Civic Square.  It is part of the 2011 shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of urbanism\architecture.

Via Design Boom where there are more photos and videos of the installation in motion.

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