Saturday, October 10, 2009

AIA Tour - Two Topher Delaney Gardens on view

Several weeks ago we went on the AIA garden tour which included two gardens designed by Topher Delaney’s firm SEAM.

The first garden that we visited was a commercial public garden in a modestly rough area of the city.
This building houses the offices of a medical complex that is part of the University system.

The garden is touted as a botanical garden planted with medicinal plants. A sign within the garden makes this announcement :
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

Using core ten metal sheets as raised planter beds a lovely swath of medicinal plants were planted in situ.
To assist the viewer in understanding what variety of plant they are viewing , the plant names are printed on the side of the planter. Hence a botanical garden.
( who would of thunk it was that easy ! ... pooof, a sign, some plant names, now you are a botanical garden ! )
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

The designer, Topher Delaney was on hand to describe the garden.
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

The second garden that we visited designed by SEAM studio was a serene residential garden located on one of San Francisco’s steep streets.

Looking down from the deck, this is the view of the garden.
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

A close up shot of the metal fire bowl juxtaposed against the metal reflection wall. The surface material was crushed gravel which lent the area a warm Cotswold glowing touch.
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

Pulling back a bit, a slightly wider angle.
From New Album 9/26/09 8:37 PM

There were no conventional seats in the garden ( it appears to be more of a viewing garden than an interactive garden ) so I am assuming that these wonderfully sculptural large rope wrapped orbs were serving as the occasional seating purpose.


Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Love the fire orb! Great and unique gardens!

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Topher's been telling me about her newest garden but I've yet to see it! Gotta get there!!
Thanks for the insights and lovely photos,

phrago said...

I did a lot of searching on this artist recently. I ran across a wonderfull interview with her on utube:

In some odd way she reminds me of Louise Nevelson, whom I had the privelege of meeting in the late 1970's while at Cranbrook. Louise is a contempory of Topher's parents, and is deceased. Both of these women live their art, in such a way that it effects their lives totally. They live, breath, eat, and sleep Art. Truely, this was the message taught at Cranbrook. It is a commitment to yourself to trust and believe in your work and ideas. It is powerfull and awe inspiring when embraced fully.

In case you aren't aware of Louise Nevelson, I have supplied a link, hope it works:

So, Looking at these gardens, I am left with the idea that they are sculptures, And the idea that they are gardens to me seems blurred. What Topher does is more like interior design, than landscape. I am learning to appreciate her work as living sculpure, but I am left with the thought that these are not really gardens...
Michelle, what you make are gardens. I think your abilities and strengths lie in the celebration of plants and beautiful objects scattered amoungst them. You tame the land with hardscape, but the plants are still important. In Topher's work, the plants are insignificant, and often times, unnecessary. Perhaps I am missing something here. I wish I could hear Tony explain, "what is a garden" again. Perhaps that would help me make the leap. I appreciate what Topher has done, and some of here work does really impress me as a garden, but overall I am left with a feeling that she is working in a different medium which just happens to include plants...

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Hi Linda,
I liked those orbs too. She used them in her exhibit at the Cornerstone Festival of gardens , and they look great there too.

Hello Alice,
The medicinal/ botanical garden is easily seen from the street side. I suppose it is just a matter of driving into the city.

Howdy Patrick,
Your point of perspective was beautifully articulated and resonates with me in regards to seeing Tophers installations as living sculptural artefacts rather than simply a garden. There is almost always something cerebral about them vs. just a pretty vignette to gaze upon.

Wouldn't it be nice to have Tony Jefferies comment on these gardens ?

I am not familiar with Louise Nevelson and so look forward to checking out the link that you have supplied ( I love Joost for their wonderful documentaries ! )

Thanks for your well worded perspective .

in appreciation,

Susan aka Miss R said...

I second your comment about Tony!

I really like two things in these gardens--the graphics on the planters in the botanical garden and the rope orbs.