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Design

Giant flip books in the forest create whimsical scenes at night

Books have evolved consistently over time. First, it was your standard paperback, then we had pop-up books, and more recently, the shift to e-books and tablet reading.

That shift is understandable given the digitisation of society. It’s an innovation that we all saw coming, but interactive books the size of humans – that’s a whole other story.

But, that story has now come to life courtesy of London-based Mobile Studio Architects.

The architect studio recently collaborated with students at a US summer camp to create some truly magical oversized flip-books that depict fictional forest tales.

A person using a flipbook

The oversized books are electromechanical display devices, which are electronic devices that visualise alphanumerical text and fixed graphics. These particular books use split-flip display technology that is utilised in airports and train stations to show departure times.

Working with craftspeople and 89 campers from Beam Camp in New Hampshire, Mobile Studio Architects call the project ‘Universal Play Machine’.

Each installation contains a total of 50 drawings which were designed by the students themselves. “With more than 500 still images traced and colours painstakingly applied by hand, the campers brought to life five animations of avian behaviour inspired by the incredible forest setting,” Mobile Studio Architects said.

A flipbook in the forest

With several of the interactive machines hidden throughout the forest, users are encouraged to explore their surroundings through prompted stimuli. It’s kind of like Dora the Explorer on steroids, without swiper swiping everything.

The pages of the books are protected within rectangular metal frames and are fitted with rotating mechanisms powered by handles on the side.

While all of this is cool, it quite literally pales in comparison to perhaps the most awesome aspect of this design. All frames are constructed with built-in LED lights, which means the giant flipbooks can be used at night.

Flipbooks in the forest

Now you can reenact those tripped out MGMT music videos, just don’t expect to ride to the moon on a motorcycle.

About the author

Quantum physics lecturer, professional golfer and one-time lover of Miley Cyrus. These are all things James is not. He has however starred in a Kollywood movie, shared the stage as a rapper with Ja Rule and enjoys writing a good yarn more than the average bear.

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