Tree-inspired architecture runs the gamut from high-end or earthy and to even prefabricated. Keeping it simple and truly nest-like, we first featured one of these amazing human-sized nests by South African design company Animal Farm some weeks ago. Designer Porky Hefer was kind enough to update us with images of more recent projects -- all beautiful nests that biomimic shelters that weaver birds build.
Built using a welded steel framework and interwoven with natural materials, the first nest was meant to be suspended from a tree, as a chill-out vantage point on a game farm. It's also a hybrid of a design dream and local craft traditions, says Hefer on the Animal Farm blog:
I always lived under [weaver birds] and always wondered what it was like up and in there. Finally I decided to make my fantasy reality. The most difficult thing was finding the right person who understood exactly what I was talking about and didn’t think I had been smoking my socks.
So the first nest was born, as a collaboration between Hefer's design skills and the weaving techniques of Bloemenkraal artisans Mariki and Beyers Beyers.
That first nest has evolved into a number of incarnations now: some of the newer nests don't have a steel frame, are smaller, use stilts to stand, employ different materials like cane or grass, or have different forms like the gorgeous ones pictured above "to avoid the 'It looks like a skull comments' as it is intended for kids" says Hefer.
This nest for example, was made from Kubu cane, usually used as weaving cane for furniture. Made without steel, it's much lighter than the first nest.
This is the second Animal Farm nest, made in collaboration with Mthobeli Aaron Bakana, for Tokara Deli in Stellenbosch.
It's certainly a different experience from a fully-equipped treehouse; but whatever it is, there's something elegant and primal about these shelters that allow people to hang out in the trees unimpeded. More images and recycled design over at the Animal Farm website and blog.