Jobs They Love: Window View Curators
Updated: Apr 6
Lucky are they who look forward to Mondays with joy in their hearts! Meet the folks whose talents and passions are happily matched to the jobs they have.
SONALI RANJIT AND VAISHNAV BALASUBRAMANIAM
Every now and then something rare happens on the internet that makes you glad – even excited – that it was ever invented. Consider WindowSwap, the simple but magnificent slider site that lets you see views of the world that other people see through their own windows. It was created last summer as an antidote to COVID-19 cabin fever by Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, creative agency directors based in Singapore.
Having to work from home once the pandemic cast its shadow over everything, Sonali and Vai soon grew bored of the view from their home office window and got the idea to launch a website where other remote workers could share videos of their own outdoor views for the rest of the world to see. Before long, they had thousands of views submitted from around the globe, complete with interesting ambient traffic noise, jazz music, dishes clattering and birds chirping.
Bored? Anxious? Depressed? Simply pull up WindowSwap, click the slider until the perfect view to soothe your mood is found, and enjoy! It could be the lazy morning sunlit street in San Francisco, a quiet snow shower over the building tops in The Hague, the rosy sunset from an apartment balcony in Buenos Aires, the drenching summer rain in Jaipur, the view of the suburban front porch in Toronto, complete with a catbird flying to and fro, building a nest, among 9,995 other views.
You can also have fun zooming in and picking up small details. Was that couple getting out of their car in Sweden having a quarrel? What is that bored teenage boy saying to his mom on the beach in Brighton? Rather like watching a mystery movie.
WindowSwap is mesmerizing. The perfect digital vacay-cum-daydream enhancer. And it’s free.
Going on to WindowSwap, you feel like you can virtually fly all over the world and slip into other people’s lives, or at least their living rooms, for a few minutes. Do you think this simple website is actually bringing people closer together in a way?
What started off as a small project between friends has grown into this lovely worldwide community of people who share their windows with the world, hoping that it will help someone else in some small way. People often tell us the website inspires a warm feeling of togetherness, a community spirit. A sense somehow that we are all more similar than we are different, just humans around the world trying to do our best in a terrible year.
Interestingly, it’s become about a lot more than just a way to travel virtually. People are using WindowSwap to relax, reflect and escape the stress of everyday life. It has become a source of calm for those with anxiety and a clear source of inspiration for those in the arts. Many artists including writers, poets, musicians, and photographers have reached out to us in the past months with short stories, paintings, sketches, and music inspired by WindowSwap.
WindowSwap has taken the internet by storm. Did you have any idea how popular this would become?
Honestly, not at all. We hoped for a few people to share it amongst themselves, but this level of love is simply not what we expected. We’re pinching ourselves everyday that our small project grew this huge -- and that our idea is bringing so much joy to so many people around the world.
What are your favorite views? Is there one that stands out?
To be honest, there are too many great views to keep count. A few that come to my mind right now are the Pyramids of Giza, view of the East Himalayan Mountain Range in Gangtok, India and a totally calming view of River Nile. Again, these are just a few that come to mind. I personally love busy intersections, while Vaishnav loves nature. And of course the ones with pets! Always a lovely addition to every window!
What is your next online innovation? (The world is waiting…!)
Haha! We’re just working on improving WindowSwap at the moment. In a month we will roll out an update that will give people the ability to save their favourite views and explore the locations of the window on a map. A bit later down the line, we will add in ability to filter videos by type (city, nature, pets, rain, etc.)
Because of the great response we have received from artists, we decided to launch a new property called WindowSwap Artists – a property that lives on the homepage of WindowSwap and a space where we spotlight art inspired by window views. Our first WindowSwap Artist collaboration features Rhye - an R&B musical project of singer Mike Milosh.
You can experience Rhye's new album 'Home' while gazing out of the windows of his California home. From a gorgeous sunset, a bathtub with a stunning view, to just catching a glimpse of his cat – experience an intimate glimpse into the artist’s world.
We are incredibly thrilled with the way our community has welcomed WindowSwap Artists! So far, we have over ten artists from around the world lined up for a ton of beautiful content over the coming months. We will continue to include artists from all walks of life to make WindowSwap a space for them to express themselves.
Photos: (Top) Sonali & Vai; (Middle) Dundee, Scotland/WindowSwap, (Bottom) Cadaques, Spain/WindowSwap.