Wind Playground is a massive, 55’ x 67’ by 18’ tall kinetic sculpture that not only provides an amazing interactive art experience, but boasts a natural alternative energy implication. A brainchild of both art and science; both large scale installation and aero-physical engineering.

Wind Playground is possible thanks to the kind support of the Black Rock Art Foundation.

Wind Playground is the brainchild of Italian artist Maia Marinelli, while combining a series of ideas formed on a warm summer New York City day and a hot humid Maui morning:

“While working on an installation for the FIGMENT exhibition Monad Pavilion, I spent plenty of time on Governors Island which resulted in me talking with the local sailors and ferry workers, while speaking with the local Bay-men discussing wind patterns. I realized that I could, from my specific experiences as an artist and lifelong sailor; that was one that could see and interpret the wind. This gift, I realized had to be given back to the people. Wind Playground was initially only a playful thought for a play oriented sculpture.”

She realized one summer morning windsurfing on Maui, Hawaii- a vision schematic of the actual shape and structure of Wind Playground.

“We call the north shore of Maui our playground, and most of the people that don’t water sport don’t understand what we mean by playground. For most people wind is an abstract thing, for me and other sailors and wind-surfers wind is a tangible thing that we actually play and sculpt with. And I was then interested in translating that concept and that feeling into a space and experience that could allow anyone or everyone to experience this. Literally right after getting out of the water, I went straight to a girl who was at the time sponsored by Mauisails and described the initial idea, asking who would be interested in a project of this nature?”

The answer was: “without a doubt Barry Spanier

Maia then contacted and met with Barry Spainer, a world famous writer and sailor, who was excited to be involved and soon became a main component in the Wind Playground experiment. After many conceptual drawings and mathematical formulation to see if this idea could be physically manifest, Maia decided to look for funding on building a conceptual model of the playground, which would act as a prototype in order to test the concept.

The first sponsor was Black Rock Art Foundation whom funded Maia in her initial ventures into this idea. The model of Wind Playground was displayed at Burning Man 2011 and was met with enthusiasm. This year we are building the full scale Wind Playground and entering it for display at showings and points of interest around the world.

Wind Playground is a kinetic sculpture, 55’ x 67’ by 18’ tall, built to interact with both man and nature. Built using specific sail making techniques, to assure structural stability- a three dimensional sculpture stands channeling local wind patterns into a Venturi effect, a rapid acceleration of wind throughout the multiple tunnels. Participants are welcome to traverse the vast landscape that Wind Playground provides.

A collaborative effort of pirates, hackers, and scientific revolutionists; of structural engineers, world renowned sailors, and fashion designers – buried in the tunnels of this massive undertaking are some of the greatest minds on the planet, all out of the box thinkers with an affinity for the abstract.


Actively displaying the fundamentals of the “Venturi Effect”, a rule of aerodynamics, Wind Playground funnels wind into four different sized tunnels. Between Wind Playground’s unique size, shape, and conformity to wind pattern, WPG creates or “simulates” a false high-low air pressure within its structure. What this translates to is Wind Playground literally accelerating wind within itself.

Using complex mathematical formula to measure out every single panel of Wind Playground’s futuristic design- and built using only the strongest material fabric’s known on the planet, very thick Dacron and sail-cloth material, Wind Playground can withstand hurricane force winds whilst effectively channeling and accelerating the wind.

In recent tests with the model/prototype- maintaining a reading of 0.01 knots at the front of the sculpture, we’ve successfully “created” two 2.0 knots of wind on the far side of the main tunnel!
While blowing into the main tunnel a five 5.0 knot speed of wind, the far side reads 15.
These numbers extrapolated for the scale difference between models would mean a 5.75 mph wind entering Wind Playground would be accelerated to 17.3 mph! Even with zero wind, the model will be expelling wind on the other side at approximately 10mph.