An amazing brief: Hermès asked us to produce a “secret garden,” a wondrous scenographic landscape that would exist as the setting for a party. The garden was built on a stretch of Astroturf at LaSalle School of the Arts. On top of this surface we placed real trees, shrubs, decaying logs, and ferns in an undulating topography—all the pieces of a genuine, full-scale tropical environment.
Using this real greenery as a base, we built from paper a layer of fantastical nature. These were elements that appeared to behave organically, although they were very abstract and geometrical. There were pyramidal growths on the fallen logs, which mimicked mushrooms, growing and following the curvature of the bark. The actual trees were covered with swarms of colored butterflies made from spirals and circles.
The Secret Garden was built in one night. It was partied in for five hours, and immediately dismantled—a totally ephemeral, radically temporary landscape. All the plants were borrowed from a nursery. We did, however, manage to sneak our daughter Mila in for an hour to feel the Sendak-ish atmosphere, and we took a photo to remember it by.
Interestingly, many people did not understand that the garden was temporary. Apparently some came back looking for it later, only to find that it had disappeared. You can see more (including before and after shots) HERE. The photos are by Darren Soh.