Student Design – Life in the Balance

Over the past couple of weeks we have highlighted various student designs that were submitted for the 2013 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Today’s design titled “Life in the Balance” was designed by Tim Reuss of the Industrial Design department. This piece was selected by a class jury as the piece that will represent the Academy of Art University at the show which takes place at the San Mateo Event Center.

This contemporary Chinese garden features life hanging in the balance;

The division of space in this garden vignette speaks to the Chinese philosophy Yin and Yang which demonstrates the opposites of life. Suspended stones are enclosed within a structure which symbolizes seeds anticipating to flourish, but are inhibited due to the walls of society which overshadow the environment.

The suspended seed elements show how life hangs in the balance only supported with delicate strings. Images of overpopulation, industrialization, and waste, will be projected on the back wall which will depict environmental changes and how the effects of these factors lead to the destruction of the environment which ultimately affects all mankind.

Organically shaped mirrors placed below suspended upside-down trees reflect their canopies. The metaphor behind this suspension is to allow one to see them-self and the tree at the same time while putting the viewer’s face in the problem; Seeing oneself and a tree hanging from a thin filament suggests how fragile life is. If one were to break the tether that holds life, it will fall and die.

The partition that separates the suspended rocks and trees incorporates a modernized Chinese moon gate which is a symbol for good fortune and prosperity. The frames on this partition features different opacity transparent panels which implies pollution, and blocks the viewer from having a clear view into the enclosed space. The partition gracefully flows into a lush living wall which incorporates an inferred shadow of a second moon gate which creates a strong focal point and welcoming entry into the enclosed space. Moss growing up the walls and out side the garden shows that life can come back, rebuild itself, and if respected, flourish and break borders.

This design will be eco-friendly with the use of minimal materials that can be down cycled or reused in their natural state after disassembly. Recycled materials, eco-friendly lumber, aluminum, and eco-rock will be used throughout the garden.

Over the next three weeks, LAN 498/695 students will be working diligently to construct this beautiful design, which will be on display at the San Mateo Event Center from March 20th-24th. Come and check it out for yourself!

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