Synthetic Garden


The garden is a territory for contest, where mankind negates to contain and strategically orders Nature into a scenery of composition. The garden is therefore a synthetic environment of infrastructure, a framework in which plants thrive to provide shade and occasionally food for consumption. Yet, the forces of  Nature can rarely be contained if not managed. 


We are interested in these relationships between Nature and the Artificial. The design imposes new infrastructure to transform the Grollo Equiset Garden into a series of urban rooms for the visitors to play, to rest, to view the sculptures, to seek prospect and refuge. The design consists of a series of semi-circular steel arched frames with a net stretched over the frame like an elaborate arbour structure. It transforms the garden into a field of interconnected rooms like the salons of the NGV gallery. 


The net provides an ephemeral envelope to the structure, recalling the acres of bird netting that covers orchards in rural Victoria during spring time. The net and arches connect the two existing pergola structures to unify the garden as a single framework. Similarly, the bluestone pavers are extended to the climbing frame west of the garden. The pavers are perforated to physically blur the boundary between the lawn and the hard landscape region; allowing nature to permeate the infrastructure.


The net envelope will be covered in part by fast-growing climbers planted at the base of the arched structures. The climbers form a backdrop to the Draped Seated Women where the ground around the sculpture is inclined to allow visitors to recline and rest. In the secret room and the Lounge, vertical hanging strips of biodegradable plastic coloured  film provide shade and intimacy for the visitor to rest and seek prospect and refuge. These rooms allows contemporary dance, fashion and music performances to take place during the installation period. The strawberry farm is a hydroponic installation where visitors can consume the fruit grown at the NGV. The urban rooms allows the visitors to engage the structure as a series of discrete spaces and at the same time, the net unified the entire garden as an ephemeral event space.