Neural Climber is a new project from Luckey Climbers, a design and build firm of sensorial playgrounds for kids and climbing sculptures for children’s museums. The playground design challenges children’s trust and excites their senses as they try to climb and play on the transparent forms.

One glance at this incredible structure and it’s clear to see the creators found their inspiration from artistic abstraction – from Giovanni Battista’s etchings of prisons with seemingly web-like interlacings of staircases to architect Bruno Taut’s crystalline compositions. Just add some colourful bright lights and reflective surfaces and you have a kids’ climbing utopia.

The design, by Spencer Luckey, invites climbers to shake off reality as they know it and to expect the unexpected by drawing them into a safe but totally different new world. Children must scale the net structure to reach the glass platforms throughout.

The transparency of the glass allows for unfettered visual access through the structure, while also having a phenomenological aspect. The glass material works to trick the mind and challenge the climbers’ common understanding of glass as being fragile and unstable, as children are forced to reassess their senses in order to step on the transparent platform and reach the next level.

By disregarding horizontal and vertical angles, and fastening a series of glass discs, which are not connected but, rather, arranged in overlapping out-of-alignment suspension, the climbing paths are infinite, all of which are different.

Additionally, the glass reflects and distorts the light and the shadows, creating a kaleidoscopic dance of lighting effects and colours. This transparency, the designer says, can represent the functions of the brain that are associated with intuition and comprehension.

Climbers can explore as far as their curiosity beckons, while also being reassured that all paths lead easily back to the beginning. Children who venture up, however, are rewarded with the sublime. There is no right or wrong path – the experience will simply reinvent the climbers’ perception of reality as children are challenged both visually and physically to find new routes and bypass dead-ends.

In Neural Climber, intuition is the guiding principle and climbers must let go of logical control in order to explore, affording a rare joy and precious liberation, especially in the neural pathways of children.

 

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