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Aimee Custis Photography via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Aimee Custis Photography via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

NYC Will Be the Latest City to Host a Ball Pit for Grown-Ups

Aimee Custis Photography via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Aimee Custis Photography via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s official: ball pits are no longer just the domain of children and fast food mascots. On August 21, JumpIn will be setting up camp in the offices of creative agency Pearlfisher in NYC. The interactive art installation will promote the “transformative powers of play,” and feature a room filled with 81,000 white plastic balls

This isn't the only option for young-spirited adults looking for the ultimate ball pit experience. “The BEACH,” an art installation that mixes experimental architecture with classic summer fun, is on display at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. until September 7. Dreamt up by the firm Snarkitecture, the exhibit consists of a 10,000-square-foot enclosure filled with nearly 1 million translucent balls and a carpeted deck complete with beach chairs and umbrellas. According to the National Building Museum’s website, visitors can, "'swim' in the ocean, or can spend an afternoon at the ‘shore’s' edge reading a good book, play beach-related activities such as paddleball, grab a refreshing drink at the snack bar, or dangle their feet in the ocean off the pier.”

The JumpIn ball pit will be open to the public through September 21. Entrance is free with a suggested donation of $5, and for serious fun-seekers there's an option to reserve the room for 30 minutes at a time.

For The BEACH, tickets will be on sale online until August 24; after that they’re available on a first-come first-served basis. As for the fate of those nearly 1 million balls once the installation closes? "We don’t know what will happen to the balls," Snarkitecture co-founder Alex Mustonen told the Washingtonian. "They can be recycled." So seize the chance to dive in now before those plastic balls are turned into something significantly less awesome.

[h/t: CNN, Curbed NY

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Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
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Art
A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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Pol Viladoms
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architecture
One of Gaudí's Most Famous Homes Opens to the Public for the First Time
Pol Viladoms
Pol Viladoms

Visiting buildings designed by iconic Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is on the to-do list of nearly every tourist passing through Barcelona, Spain, but there's always been one important design that visitors could only view from the outside. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first major work in Gaudí's influential career, but it has been under private ownership for its entire existence. Now, for the first time, visitors have the chance to see inside the colorful building. The house opened as a museum on November 16, as The Art Newspaper reports.

Gaudí helped spark the Catalan modernism movement with his opulent spaces and structures like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see plenty of his architecture around Barcelona, but the eccentric Casa Vicens is regarded as his first masterpiece, famous for its white-and-green tiles and cast-iron gate. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Casa Vicens is a treasured part of the city's landscape, yet it has never been open to the public.

Then, in 2014 the private Spanish bank MoraBanc bought the property with the intention of opening it up to visitors. The public is finally welcome to take a look inside following a $5.3 million renovation. To restore the 15 rooms to their 19th-century glory, designers referred to historical archives and testimonies from the descendants of former residents, making sure the house looked as much like Gaudí's original work as possible. As you can see in the photos below, the restored interiors are just as vibrant as the walls outside, with geometric designs and nature motifs incorporated throughout.

In addition to the stunning architecture, museum guests will find furniture designed by Gaudí, audio-visual materials tracing the history of the house and its architect, oil paintings by the 19th-century Catalan artist Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés, and a rotating exhibition. Casa Vicens is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission costs about $19 (€16).

An empty room in the interior of Casa Vicens

Interior of house with a fountain and arched ceilings

One of the house's blue-and-white tiled bathrooms

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

All images courtesy of Pol Viladoms.

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