Monday, July 5, 2010

Intimate Spaces in the Landscape + The WOW factor

Several weeks ago the Gardeners RoundTable group wrote on the subject of small space gardens.

I was particularly impressed with the informative article that Susan Morrison wrote.
She succinctly described some important design strategies that can bring a sense of fullness to a small space. LINK

A topic not covered , that I think that can bring exciting relevance to a small space is ‘The Wow Factor”.
If the space is small and you want to bring a sense of awe to the space installing a “Wow” centerpiece is a dynamic way to infuse emotion and excitement into a small space.

The photo below shows an installation we did in late 2008.
It is a very small roof top balcony located off the plaza level in a high rise building in down town San Francisco.
Wind, lighting directions, weight load, noise levels and their impact on the surrounding home owners was a big factor to mediate and negotiate with the HOA and engineering dept.

Our Wow factor was a simple stucco box niche with a place for a Buddha.
Our client is a practising Buddhist from Korea. In seeking out just the right Buddha for the niche we discovered through discussion that her recently deceased mother had a beautiful Buddha in her garden back in Korea. We thought that having this Buddha would be the most heartfelt expression of love in the garden and so my client had the Buddha shipped out to S.F.

As you can see our Wow Factor is not brightly colored or over the top flashy.
It is simple yet present.
It’s what I would call a Zen Wow.

From Water fountains in the landscape

From Water fountains in the landscape

From Water fountains in the landscape

Lightweight Aluminium powder coated planters from Ore Sculpture Studios planted with Alphonse Kar bamboo.

Recessed rope lighting in the teak wood top cap illuminates the box at night

A simple stone Balinese basin with a low noise level water bubbler.

New paint on the existing stucco walls and new tile on the patio floor.


Kerry said...

Really serene, I love it. Are those planters sub-irrigated? If not where does water drain to?

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Kerry, We used drip irrigation .
The containers were designed with a nice drainage detail that direct the excess run off water to a drain tube ( that we attached ) . That drain tube feeds into a drain inlet that was present at the back side of the patio.

thanks for your thoughts.

Phrago said...

Did you get this commission as the result of your win at the Flower show that year? The box is reminisent of the one in your Winning entry, but much subtler. Very nice; Simple and Elegant.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Hi Patrick,
Very perceptive !
Yes, this job came directly from the S.F. Garden show.
The client wanted almost the exact set up but due to a variety of factors from her HOA and the engineering dept. of the hi rise building ( along with her budget) this is the design that we came up with and implemented.

One of the nicest things I can say about the garden show is that it introduced me to this particular client who I have a very nice friendship with.
She is one of the nicest persons' that I have ever met and it has been great fun learning some new cultural experiences.
I'm still not a fan of Kim Che, but have learned to love some other wonderful Korean foods.

Christine said...

Oh, Michelle- I have to take issue with your opinion of Kim Chee! So yummy! As for the garden, it certainly does have a "wow factor", the spartan design allows the eye to focus right on the Buddha. Are there any details along the wall of the house or is it more of a garden meant to be viewed from inside?

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

I've tried a couple of time to like kim chee but it is taking me a while to develop a taste for it.
I do like a marinated Korean tofu dish that is quite "zesty". I guess I just need some more exposure to this intriguing cuisine.

The garden space is primary a viewing garden. The interior view culminate on this view.
But there is also a small table and chairs ( not in this photo ) that invites people out into the tiny balcony to sit .
In the far corner to the right is a trio of stone Balinese pots with a Rhaphis palm, some succulents and some tropicalesque foliage plants.

Always nice to hear from you. .... and I'm impressed that a non native Korean loves kim chee !

Kerry said...

Wow that drainage system sounds genius. When it's such a neat looking enclosed space such as this I'm always interested to know where the water goes.

Thanks for sharing the details.

It looks like a lovely meditation spot.