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10 : 07 : 20

Manchester venue opens virtual doors in Fortnite, corporate pyjamas for Japanese workers, and bookish children look to YouTube for reading inspiration.

AR artwork for eco-conscious children

Earth Speakr by Olafur Eliasson, Global

London – Artist Olafur Eliasson has launched Earth Speakr, an interactive digital initiative created to engage children in positive climate action.

The project comprises an augmented reality (AR) app, website and virtual presentations. It aims to directly involve children in environmental awareness and activity by allowing them to transform the world around them into plant life, plastic bags and other objects. Using AR, the app also allows users to blend their faces into objects such as bottles and flowers, recording short video messages that are pinned to a virtual map of the world for others to explore.

‘Earth Speakr is a collective artwork that invites kids to be artists,’ explains Olafur Eliasson. ‘The artwork is made up of their thoughts and visions, concerns and hopes. Earth Speakr invites kids to speak their hearts and minds, and participate in shaping our world and the planet, today and in the future.’

From school strikes to protesting against single-use plastics, Generation Alpha are natural-born activists who are ready to question the world and institutions around them. In Edu-play-tion, we explore the ways this group are learning through play.

Japan’s remote workers embrace WFH pyjamas

WFH Jammies by Whatever, Japan WFH Jammies by Whatever, Japan
WFH Jammies by Whatever, Japan WFH Jammies by Whatever, Japan

Japan – Creative agency Whatever is positioning 'half business, half relaxation' pyjamas as a new type of corporate workwear.

The WFH Jammies, introduced via Kickstarter, feature a split design with a cotton shirt that covers the neck and shoulders, a comfortable jersey for the torso and pyjama bottoms. The design is intended to enable formal presentation for client calls while providing comfort for those working remotely.

‘It's a little troublesome to have to change clothes when you go on a video conference,' reads the Kickstarter page. 'For everyone that shares this concern, we've created remote workers' jammies that look formal on video but loose and comfy outside the frame.’

While Japanese working culture is known to be conservative, companies such as Whatever are testing the boundaries. Furthermore, as recently identified by Jiji Press, some 70% of Japanese employees would like to continue working from home, even when the coronavirus has been contained. This new mindset and value shift is likely to usher in new products, designs and services to support remote working culture in Japan and beyond.

The Factory is a new phygital venue in Fortnite

The Factory in Fortnite by OMA and Manchester International Festival The Factory in Fortnite by OMA and Manchester International Festival

Manchester, UK – Creative venue The Factory is opening a digital version of its space in Fortnite, allowing players to tour the building virtually before its physical opening.

Launched on an island inside Fortnite Creative, the virtual building will host a series of interactive exhibitions. The real-life venue, which is now under construction in Manchester, is the first of its kind to be created in Fortnite, as well as to open virtually before its physical counterpart.

Unlike many recently launched digital venues, The Virtual Factory wasn’t created as a response to Covid-19, but had been a key part of The Factory’s plans from the beginning. Gabrielle Jenks, digital director at Manchester International Festival, the organisation behind The Factory, said: ‘Virtual Factory reflects a time when we are increasingly inhabiting non-physical environments, from social media to video games.’

Looking ahead, architecture is set to further incorporate our digital lives into our physical environments, and vice versa. Working with video games as The Factory has is likely to resonate in particular with Kid Architects.

Stat: YouTubers are inspiring bookish children

Studio Anorak Studio Anorak

A recent survey by The Reading Agency has found that UK children often look to social media influencers, including YouTubers, for reading inspiration.

According to the study, 45% of children said they have looked on YouTube for book ideas, while 28% explore other social media platforms like Instagram. These figures represent a larger percentage than those looking to traditional media, with 27% inspired by tv advertisements and 18% getting ideas from the radio.

While many young people spend long periods of time online, digital platforms, influencers and branded content are increasingly informing their offline leisure activities, something we further explore in Young Bibliophiles.

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