As I mentioned in an earlier blog, geometry is crucial to the lay-out of Furillen as a sim. It seemed important to me not just to represent the contrast between minimalist beauty and brutal industrialism as a contrast in textures. This is fine, but too simplistic.

I wanted to build this opposition between nature and machine into the very heart of the sim. This meant having to play around with form.

The signature tree line is the best example of this principle at work.

treeline b

The trees themselves are thoroughly natural: bare, slightly green with a hint of snow on the bark. But they are arranged in a very precise and deliberate way – as firs so often are, of course.


So that’s all there is to it? Not quite.

Pan out. South of the tree line, set back, is another line.

treeline c

An echo.


This is almost exactly the same length as the line of trees, and consists of electricity poles made of of concrete – mixed with the very limestone, perhaps, that was dug out of the ground here.

treeline d

For me, this blurs the distinction between what is natural, and what is not.


This is probably the better way to think about Furillen.

It’s not simply about stark contrasts. There is something more subtle going on.


There is a door on the south east corner of the sim marked ‘exit’.

exit 01_002

Some people ask me what it’s for. Nothing, is the answer.

Some ask it does. Nothing.

What, exactly, would you like it to do?

Furillen 3

Others ask why I put it there.

Perhaps this seems a bit obscure, but it reminds me of that moment in The Truman Show when Jim Carrey bumps into the edge of his sim, gets out of his boat, finds the exit door, and leaves.


I love that scene.

I like to imagine how mind-blowing it would be to discover that what you thought was your life is merely entertainment for people who inhabit a much bigger world.


That what you thought was ‘reality’ is merely a distraction.

So what’s this got to do with Furillen?

Nothing. And everything.


the airstream

Besides the long pier, the airstream stands out as a symbol of the real Furillen. Its position is evocative: standing besides that solitary tree, set against the rough concrete of the slag heap next to it. The airstream points out to sea, giving a view on to the pier that must create a wonderful feeling of space, in contrast to the cramped conditions inside. Here is ethereal beauty juxtaposed with brutal industrialism – the very core of what Furillen represents in my eyes.


Like Furillen’s chairs, part of me wishes that this had been all my idea, a product of Footman’s imagination and flair. The potential for the airstream to be played off against different kinds of light, its capacity for sheer moodiness, would be a characteristic move of a sim designer in Second Life.

And yet …


… knowing that there is a real airstream situated at the real Furillen, that you can go and photograph it for yourself, and that you can even rent it for your vacation – these things, for me, make the scene even more evocative and powerful, even more captivating, than if it was just a virtual creation.

Having said that, the Second Life version adds a touch of the surreal that arguably only we can achieve.

Sweet isolation

It is this constant interplay and tension between the virtual and real Furillen that has made the process of building and developing the sim so fascinating.

New light for new times

As the pictures here will testify, I took some liberties with the virtual version of Furillen, using a tree whose wind-battered appearance fits the airstream itself perfectly, and placing it to the right rather than left of the pier.


It is a special place; visitors to the sim spend hours sitting inside it or taking pictures of it; it is often the first thing you see when you arrive at the sim.


To many visitors – and perhaps even to me – the airstream is Furillen.


those chairs

I would love to claim credit for the line of chairs on the pier, which add a touch of colour, texture and chaos to the monochrome environment of concrete and snow. But like most of Furillen’s best bits, I took my inspiration from the real Furillen. Having said this, I don’t know whether these chairs are a permanent feature of the real island or – more likely – were a temporary art installation or photo op.


In a slight deviation from the arrangement pictured above, I placed my version of the chairs further right, on the pier. To my eye they work better there, providing a focus of their own – and leaving the airstream to bask in its own glory.

The show...


chair 01_016

Although they are not easy to capture in pictures – something odd happens with the LOD – the chairs are so popular that they now have their own Flickr group. There are many very creative images of them, either empty or with one or two people sitting.

But one of my abiding memories of the early days at Furillen is when Mich Michabo turned up and invited a group of her friends to sit. The result was deliciously surreal.



the pier

The pier at the real Furillen is iconic: narrowly and seemingly endless, with that old crane at the end, unused and unloved.  My virtual version bugged me from the outset, because it should look like this:


This is beyond my current building skills, so I opted for the simplest option: a single prim, laid flat in the water and textured in the same concrete mix as the land.

Then along came KT Syakumi, a very accomplished builder who I ran into a few weeks ago at the sim. She agreed to take a shot at the pier. What she has built is stunning in and of itself, but all the more so when you compare if to the original pier at the real Furillen. This is still work in progress: the platform needs to be built properly, and we haven’t yet decided exactly how this should be done. But KT was at Furillen earlier today, and what she’s planning is really exciting. So keep checking back.


pier narrow b

KT Syakumi’s other work can be seen here and here.