Monday, 10 August 2015


9 nests that aren't for the birds
By Sidney Stevens,
Mother Nature Network, 8 August 2015.

Birds have inspired us to fly, astounded us with their array of extraordinary markings and delighted us with their gorgeous songs. But they also appeal to another side of our natures: call it our instinct for nesting.

Who doesn't love to burrow into snug spaces, cradled and safe from the wild world outside? The following human nests are biomimicry at its best, built the way birds do with cosy comfort in mind.

1. Tulbagh tree nest

Photo: Porky Hefer

Located near the charming South African village of Tulbagh, this high-rise human nest is woven from Port Jackson saplings and bark on a steel frame. Created by advertising-director-turned-designer Porky Hefer of Animal Farm, it's suspended from two trees and offers striking sky-high views of the surrounding mountains and valleys that even a bird might envy. Hefer specializes in sculptural nest designs made from natural materials like the kubu cane.

2. Human Nest at Treebones Resort

Photo: Jayson Fann

Artist Jayson Fann built this guest-sized nest at Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California. The woven-wood structure is accessible via a ladder and features a full-size futon mattress. Fann, who runs an international cultural and arts centre called Big Sur Spirit Garden, specializes in nest building using mostly eucalyptus branches carefully harvested so no trees are harmed.

3. Giant Birdsnest


Sofas, beds and easy chairs are great for lounging, catching up on email and napping, but when it comes to real comfort, nobody tops our feathered friends. That's why Merav (Salush) Eitan and Gaston Zahr of Israeli design firm OGE CreativeGroup turned to the avian world when designing their Giant Birdsnests. A blend of play space and furniture for home or office, these circular settees are constructed of pine wood pieces on the exterior and filled with soft, egg-shaped pillows. They come in four sizes with the largest nest holding up to 16 people.

4. Tree Adventure bird's nest


Housed at the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania, this fanciful treetop roost is part of the Tree Adventure exhibit. Visitors take the 50-foot-high "Out on a Limb" tree canopy walk built by Metcalfe Architecture & Design to the immense bird’s nest at the end. Inside, kids are invited to sit on the oversized blue robin's eggs for the full nest experience.

5. Treehotel Bird's Nest


Hidden in the boreal forest of northern Sweden, the Treehotel offers several unique tree suites built to blend into their woodland surroundings, including this enormous bird's nest perched high in a tree. From the outside you might think some winged giant wove the jumbo twig-like structure. But once inside (guests enter via a retractable staircase) it's all about human luxury. The roomy, modern living area and bedrooms are panelled in wood with windows offering stunning forest views.

6. Treelax

Photo: Carrie May

Hatched from the mind of artist Carrie May of Dreamweaver Nests, Treelax is a hanging sanctuary designed for bird-loving humans who love to chill out. Woven mostly from willow and grape vine harvested from northern Wisconsin and Michigan, these custom-made cushioned nests measure nearly eight feet tall and are designed to hang either indoors or outdoors from cables attached to an inner steel ring. May offers additional hanging hideaways for the ultimate in bird-inspired R&R.

7. ‘What the Birds Know'


Artist Patrick Dougherty took his cue from the feathered set to create this fairy-tale 5-piece twig sculpture located at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Woven using Norway maple, striped maple, sweet pepper bush, American buckthorn and beech saplings, the fanciful arrangement of simple stick structures is handcrafted to awaken visitors' primal connection to Mother Nature and memories of childhood play with sticks and other natural objects. Check out more of Dougherty's bird-influenced sculptures.

8. 'Sandy Remix' at Brooklyn Botanic Garden


Artist and treehouse architect Roderick Romero found bird- and storm-influenced inspiration among Hurricane Sandy's ruins. This nest-like structure, designed to capture the swirling essence of a cyclone, was unveiled at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2013. Constructed from trees downed on the garden grounds during the colossal 2012 super storm, it was designed as a wild and whimsical observation perch for visitors. Romero creates other nest designs, including the hanging Miami Pod and the Maple Nest, commissioned by actress Julianne Moore for her New York City home.

9. Treepod dining


The Treepod at Soneva Kiri Resort on the island of Koh Kood in the Gulf of Thailand lets you dine like the birds do, ensconced in homey intimacy high in the rain forest canopy. The pod, constructed of a strong frame covered in woven bamboo, offers panoramic bird’s-eye views of the rocky shoreline and crystal-clear aquamarine waters below. Diners climb aboard the comfy aerie-like capsule and are lofted into the foliage where they enjoy gourmet food and wine flown in with avian style by a waiter harnessed to a zip line.

Top image: Giant Bird Nest with Giant Bird Eggs at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Winterthur, Delaware, USA. Credit: Jim, the Photographer/Flickr.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited. Some links added.]

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