In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

The Weather Millers

In collaboration with Wayward Plants, Studio Weave was one of four shortlisted practices to design a new play-space for Three Mills Green in east London. The competition was organised by Architecture Foundation on behalf of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, The Legacy List charity and landowners, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

One of our first impressions of the site was the entwined relationship between a natural wilderness and its industrial past. 

The vast terrain offered a variety of environments to be explored, akin to the Hundred Acre Wood.

Therefore we proposed to structure the project like a storybook, with our concept forming the ‘map at the front’ followed by chapters about individual elements, a format which also met fundraising requirements.

Our proposal envisages the landscape as a country of millers, a little known place where all aspects of weather are made and measured. Within the imagined nation, humps are island countries, home to different types of weather miller, the ridge is a mountain range and the towpath is a wild coastline.

Inspired by early mills in the area, the country is populated by machine-like play structures that make a range of weather. Each has its own story – from the tiny rainbow palace to the fortress of thunder – but they all fit together to complete the landscape.

The Weather Millers’ Country functions as a place to come and play with familiar interfaces such as swings and roundabouts, but it is also an educational resource. Each weather mill strikes a balance between play and effect: joy in the act of doing something rewarded with a magical experience. 

The simple mechanics that create the weather are powered by energy harnessed simply from play.

Working with Wayward Plants, specially chosen plants bring to life the stories of the Weather Millers, and have been designed to translate the fantasy map of this curious parallel world into a physical terrain.

The book that accompanies the project is conjured up of the adventures that ensue when somebody writes a letter to the weather to make a particular request. Here are the initial letters sent to each weather-maker by a collection of interesting characters, from a cheeky pickpocket to a lonely sailor’s wife to a baker of memories…

Dear Rainmakers,

Please help. It keeps raining upwards in my village and it is causing quite a nuisance. My daddy is a farmer and now that the rain is the wrong way round, he is always in a bad mood. I think that the girl next door is up to something, she is really strange and won’t talk to us (you might need to speak to her to sort out this problem). We really need the rain to go back to downwards otherwise our crops will be ruined for the year.

To the misty girls,

I need to ask a little tiny favour from you lovely ladies. Could you use your mist-making powers to create a personal invisibility cloud for me? I would be ever so grateful for I would be able to carry out some important business operations without being seen. Oh and I’d appreciate it if you kept this between us, if you catch my drift…

Dear Moon Snails,

I have got myself into quite the pickle. I invented a method for writing the perfect bedtime story; perfect because it sends the reader to sleep immediately without fail. However, people became suspicious of my talents and have now branded me a witch. I thought perhaps you could assist me in creating a tale that keeps people awake for just the right amount of time, which proves that I am an honest storyteller after all.

To the residents of the Thunder Fortress,

My family has moved to a new Fulling Mill in a new town and I do not like it because it is cursed with thunder. Sometimes I think that the sky is crashing into the ground or that a giant monster is tearing the roof off to kidnap me. Please can you make it stop because it gives me a fright and not even hiding under my magic soft blanket helps me sleep.

Dearest wind-makers,

I’m terribly sorry to bother you but I didn’t know who else to turn to. My husband is a sailor and has been lost at sea for some time now, whisked off by a powerful wind… he’s still alive mind, I can feel it in my bones. Would it be possible for you to change the wind direction? Just for a teeny-weeny bit, enough to carry my darling back to land so I can hold him against my bosom once again.

Hello Rainbow creatures,

I’m begging you to concoct an antidote to undo an awful decision… I took a potion that would make me happy all the time because I was fed up feeling sad after my one true love broke my heart. But it has had the curious side effect of turning rainbows into shades of grey. Please bring colour back into my life as this is more painful than any sadness.

To Mr. Tornado

I could do with your help on rather a delicate situation. I have no memory of my own but instead it is made up of the memories of others. You see, I’m an archivist and over the years I’ve become so engrossed with other people’s stories, I have taken these fragments on as my own. Now I can’t remember my personal past. I need your assistance in returning all the memories to their rightful owners so that I might have my own story.

For the attention of the Timetellers,

I needn’t tell you that I am a critically acclaimed film director known across the globe. Like a storyline from one of my own films, I have fallen hopelessly in love with my leading actress. I suspect that you can help me formulate the perfect opportunity to express my feelings. My requests involve a short burst of torrential rain, which brings us close together, quickly followed by a stream of golden sunlight as I reveal that we must spend the rest of our lives together.

To whom it may concern in the Dept of Air Smells,

I spent five years learning the trade of olfactory baking at the legendary ‘Pain de Splendeur’ school . There, I devised a secret recipe for bread that evokes particular emotions or messages. I have since built a business empire, taking commissions for special occasions that range from marriage proposals to memorials. I often receive unusual requests, of course, but I am appealing for your help on this one: the feeling of laughing in the rain captured in the scent of a loaf.

Dear Heat-makers,

I am a mother at her wits’ end who needs your help desperately. My six-year-old son has a fiery temper that causes all sorts of strife. Once the anger sets in, everything within close proximity gets really unbearably hot, I worry that one day, he’ll explode. People have fainted from the heat, and on one occasion my curtains were set on fire. If only he learnt how to control the temperature of his rage – can you offer any tips?

Dear wise Forecasters,

I am a politician in a country with a population that, I am sad to say, has become tediously complacent. They are all too used to being told what to expect, and energy and creativity is at an all-time low. I believe a dose of uncertainty would do them good. You are probably wondering where you come into this fight against laziness. Well, I have one simple demand: please turn off the weather forecast for a fortnight. I look forward to seeing the results.