On Design: Where The Wild Things Really Are

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Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze's breath-taking adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book of the same name, opened this weekend thanks to Warner Brothers.

Max, fortuitously played by Max Records, is a little boy who imagines running away from his family to an island inhabited by giant, cuddly, child-like creatures.

He meets the Wild Things in a forest - a place for wilderness where animal-like behavior is cultivated and celebrated.

In close proximity is a a desert - an uninhabited place for more personal exchanges that are exposing and revealing. It is through this journey that Max discovers Carol's secret cave.

Inspired by a safely hidden physical model of a fantastical dream land constructed by Carol, Max decides to bring the group together to build a home for the Wild Things.

The collaborative construction effort of the fort leads to excitement, creation, friendship, leadership, war, injury and pain – the stuff of everyday life.

Ultimately, Max craves his home and returns to devour his dinner in front of a lovingly staring mother.

He returns changed. Although no real-world time has passed, Max's imagined journey has actually taken place. In the virtual world of his dreams he lived, loved, laughed, learned and he returns to his real world transformed.

As we travel through our physical environments into where are Wild Things are and back again, we might want to remember that our virtual and tangible experiences are equally as real and that they all operate in space – a place that shapes and effects them. As we construct the environments around us we shape our ideas and behavior. That's why we sometimes fear books becoming films or our imagination becoming real.

Space matters. Let's stop talking about just what's in our screens and talk about how it fits into our bedrooms, living rooms, offices, restaurants, stores, museums, entertainment spaces, hospitals, trains, airplanes and landscapes.

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