The Weekend Series: five things we are vibing in June
We’ve taken the first tentative steps into winter, the election is done and dusted, Game of Thrones has officially ended – and you have nothing left to small-talk about at the water cooler. Don’t fret, folks, because we’ve scoured the globe to bring you some of the most interesting things happening in all reaches, from regional Australia to Ibiza. This month we present to you a glass-walled hotel room free of charge, a vegan interpretation of the classic IKEA meatballs, a brand-new Star Wars theme park, a life-changing food waste app and plans to launch NASA rockets from the Northern Territory. Yep, consider all awkward silences and lengthy elevator rides taken care of.
When a hotel boasts the tagline “Turn your vacation into a masterpiece”, you know you’re in for a weirdly wonderful treat. Paradiso Ibiza is exactly that – a 1970s-inspired adults’ playground in San Antonio Bay on the turbo-charged party island of Ibiza. Every suite feels like an art installation, incorporating bright splashes of paint on the walls, eccentric artworks, wacky headboards, Marshall loudspeakers and 70s-inspired furniture. But perhaps the most interesting feature of all is The Zero Suite Project, a glass-walled room located in the hotel lobby that offers guests a free night’s stay should they agree to become the protagonists in some live art. There’s a chance you may be photographed, filmed and giggled at – but you will definitely be watched. (At least the bathroom is private!)
Image: Paradiso Ibiza
IKEA vegan ‘meatballs’
We’ve watched with interest as an increasing number of local cafes and restaurants have begun to offer vegan menu options, dedicated vegan side-menus or all-out-vegan-only offerings. Now IKEA is joining the movement by working on a new vegan alternative to its cult-favourite meatballs. First introduced in 1985, it’s become the most popular dish on the IKEA restaurant menu and a plate of steaming-hot Swedish meatballs is almost a rite of passage after surviving the winding maze of the IKEA floorplan. While the furniture giant has been dishing up vegetable balls and chicken balls since 2015, and introduced salmon and cod balls last year, it’s now reportedly working on a ‘meatball’ that looks and tastes just like the beloved classic, but made from plant-based alternative proteins. Several prototypes have been created and the final product is expected to be tested on selected markets in February 2020.
Star Wars theme park
Disneyland’s newest theme park, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, opened last Friday May 31 at Disneyland Resort in California – and needless to say, minds have been blown. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, the 14-acre park is said to be the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park. From building your own custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop to designing, assembling and activating a customised droid at the Droid Depot, the new land is full of immersive experiences. The Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride will take you on an interactive mission, while The Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction will open later in the year and invite you to battle against the First Order. Frazzled parents can swing by Oga’s Cantina for an alcoholic pick-me-up, grab a cup of Batuu’s famous frozen blue or green milk, or grab a more substantial galactic favourite from one of the many food outlets in the park. Reservations are required for visits to the Californian park before June 23 as capacity is limited, while Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is expected to open on Thursday August 29.
OzHarvest Food App
Australia’s leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest has launched the OzHarvest Food App to help tackle Australia’s hunger crisis and prevent food waste in regional communities. The app is the first of its kind in the country and helps local businesses donate their food waste to registered charities. After a successful pilot with 70 Woolworths supermarkets across Australia, the app will now be made available to any business of any size. The donor simply enters the details of its food surplus into the app, which notifies a local charity and invites them to collect the food. It’s expected that in the first year alone, an additional 600 charities will be able to rescue more than 2000 tonnes of food, which will provide six million meals. The app is now live and the support team is working on a roll-out plan to make it available in as many regional areas as possible. Businesses and charities can register their interest online.
NASA rockets into Australia
Word on the international space grapevine is that NASA has selected the Northern Territory as its new launch site. Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) is establishing Australia’s first commercial spaceport near Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory and it’s been reported that The Arnhem Space Centre will become the first privately owned site outside of the US to launch NASA rockets. While terms of the deal are still being negotiated, it’s believed that NASA will use the site to launch sounding rockets, with a proposed date of 2020. The team behind Equatorial Launch Australia are trusted leaders in the space industry both within Australia and the US, and they’re on track to creating a new home for innovative space technology in Australia. Extensive consultation was undertaken with key stakeholders in Australia, including Traditional Owners of the land.
Image: Equatorial Launch Australia