I’m rounding out my 2020 region explorations with a return trip to Biné Rodenberger’s Binemust, which Caitlyn and I last visited in September. At that time, the region was dressed as a representation of Bungenäs, a region of Sweden’s largest island, Gotland (see: Bungenäs at Binemust in Second Life).
That design is still available at ground level, but for Winter 2020/21 Biné has added a sky platform – White Binemust. As its name suggests, this is a place dressed as a winter setting that is nicely Scandinavian is style, whilst also lending itself as a snowy setting from almost any suitable mountainous region in snowy latitudes.
Blending seamlessly with a snow-capped and off-region mountain range on all sides, the platform offers a richly wooded environment – a familiar element within Biné ‘s designs, both and above water level, as she has often demonstrated an imaginative use of space within her region that has included woods and copses below sea level as well as on land -, the setting sits under a lowering sky that suggests a lot of snow is awaiting the opportunity to fall on top of that which has already settled.
The woods hide the fact that this is setting of two levels. The upper, home to the majority of the woodland, also forms the landing point for this winter setting, sitting as it does close to a junction of pathways visitors are free to follow. One of these, marked by an avenue of arched trees, leads to a snow-bound country chapel, an icy path links the chapel with a glass and steel igloo, both of which are watched over by an unexpected guardian: and oriental-style flying dragon.
A second path leads to a large house overlooking the lower aspect of the region (of which more anon). Of a modern, clean design, with large windows and cosily furnished, the house is suited to this snowy location, and appears to be open for visitors to explore – as do all the buildings to be found with White Binemust. The icy path running to the house ends in a circular pond, its surface frozen, revealing the smooth path may itself be a stream caught beneath the ice. A small cabin sits close by the pond; in warmer days it might form a summer house converted from a greenhouse; for now it presents a cosy den / bar.
A tiny cabin and a shed offering Christmas trees round-out the high-level section of the platform. Below them, reached via a path than descends via a line of steps, and a more open space, the woodland ending at a line of trees at the foot of the slope, having marched down it to meet a rutted track that follows the contours of the hill.
The selection of buildings here – focused on another clean design of a wood-framed ranch house – has the feel of a farm caught in the depths of winter about it. Shaggy highland cattle graze in a fences field, a wagon of hay close-by should the snow overcome the grass of the field. Across the snow and ice sits and A-frame cabin, perhaps offered as a holiday home by those who own the farm. Sitting outside of it is a little snowman offering a reminder of a more unpleasant aspect of this past year.
Although sitting below the landing point, the farm and its buildings art nestled on the edge of a mountain valley, one suggestive of being formed in the ancient past by the passage of glacier that encountered a hard table of rock that forced it to split, giving rise to the plateau on which the setting is located.
It is within this valley, visible from the large glass frontage of the farmhouse, that another of one of Binemust’s iconic elements can be found: the wreck of a Viking long ship. It’s a piece Biné uses as an emblem for her designs, a visualisation of her Norse / Scandinavian heritage.
While there are touches of Christmas to be found within the setting – decorated trees (one of them of a most interesting design), lights festooning tree branches and so on. However, this is far more a delightful winter setting than Christmas focused, thus it offer an ideal seasonal visit with which to see out the year (as it did for me) or as a winter setting in which to see in the new.
- White Binemust (Binemust, rated Adult)