When National Design Centre presented its nature-themed Garden Dreaming exhibition, it tied up botanical studio This Humid House as part of its outreach.
The studio created a series of demonstration videos for Appropriating Nature for Pleasure: Home Edition where it invited plant enthusiasts and the design community to try their hand at botanical design and submit their creations.
We got an enthusiastic response, with entries coming even from Hong Kong, India, Vietnam and the United States. Two standout local submissions were picked by This Humid House as winners for their contrasting takes on the theme – “one simple and powerful, the other rich and complex”.
Let’s take a deeper look at these botanical creations.
“A tour de force of movement and dynamism”
At first glance, this creation by Aloysius Ang of @a2floral might appear wild, frenzied, as if a cyclone had wreaked through it. A closer look reveals that there was careful material selection that “captures a real sensitivity to texture, line and shape and exemplifies a deep sophistication not only in technique but also in point-of-view”, says The Humid House.
What were your first thoughts when you first read about the Nature for Pleasure contest and decided to try it?
I was quite excited as I have never participated in a design contest before. As I watched the videos of Garden Dreaming and Appropriating Nature, I found all the projects very interesting in their own unique way.
The one that stood out for me is Yun Hye Hwang (Nation University of Singapore) X Naturalised Gardens as it portrays the raw essence of nature, wild and free, but with a semblance of control through the clear demarcation of the interface between the gardens and the area around it.
That also guided my arrangement – to have fun with it and not to overthink how it looked during the process.
What is the driving force behind your botanical design?
My designs have always been experimental – I always try to do something that evokes an emotion. The emotion evoked could be anything from negative to positive as long as the design shows it. In terms of inspiration, I draw a lot of inspiration from a fantasy setting. Movies like Alice in Wonderland to games like Ori And the Blind Forest are examples where the flora defies reality, and everything is more whimsical and magical.
What does Nature for Pleasure mean to you?
Nature for Pleasure to me is all about enjoying nature in any aspect, be it wandering through the landscapes, taking pictures or designing with it. How people enjoy nature to me is very much a “beauty is the eye of the beholder” philosophy, where each person has to discover what they love about nature for themselves. Personally, I am drawn towards gardening and flower arrangement as it’s very therapeutic. Walking around nature is another experience that I love.
Lastly, what are your Garden Dreams for Singapore?
Singapore has achieved a lot through its integration and intertwining of nature and urban areas. This will only continue to grow as we expand and continue to develop new ideas and technology to sustain nature in our ever-continuous urban development.
My garden dream is for Singapore to have self-sustaining edible and non-edible gardens. Edible gardens like vegetable gardens will provide both food sustainability to Singapore while non-edible gardens can be used to supply flowers to everyone. Both gardens will also supply the community with plenty of nature.
“Perfectly captures that elusive sense of wonder and curiosity”
There is beauty in the mundane for botanical design. In the process of dissecting everyday vegetables, Mok of @mwgeneralgoods, found a way to elevate them as art. As This Humid House elucidates, “We can imagine ourselves having a moment at the cutting board, taking pause to acknowledge the beauty of the produce in our hands.”
What were your first thoughts when you first read about the Nature for Pleasure contest, and decided to try it?
I am really inspired by how form and function play a vital role in creating a language (with inspiring floral arrangements and compositions) by This Humid House’s John Lim and his team.
Why did you decide to use vegetables like bokchoy and ladies’ fingers for this? What struck you about these veggies?
I wanted my concept to take on a tone-on-tone approach by using different shades of green from the two vegetables. At the same time, it must exhibit contrast, so I juxtaposed the solid form of the ladies’ fingers against the soft fluid lines of the bokchoy. Finally, I did layering by combining the diagonal lines, hexagonal form, varying heights, smooth and coarse textures within the composition.
What did you want viewers to see or understand about this arrangement?
I would want viewers to feel the sense of solitude, quietness and the facets of life in my composition. And to encourage the viewers to stay curious like a child, keeps on exploring, finding beauty even in their daily mundane chores. It’s always a joy!
Lastly, what does Nature for Pleasure mean to you?
It connotes the idea that if you allow your senses to feel nature, you will be able to discover happiness and beauty within.
Watch how designers and architects in Singapore are creating a City in Nature in our exhibition Garden Dreaming.