Hermès Secret Garden

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An amazing brief: Hermès asked us to produce a “secret garden,” a wondrous pop-up 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 “mushrooms” on the fallen logs, which appeared to grow and to follow 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.

Interestingly, many people did not understand that the garden was ephemeral. Apparently some came back looking for it later, only to find that it had disappeared–which is our favorite part of the story. The photos are by Darren Soh.

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Here we were testing the pyramidal mushrooms, behind our office.

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One of a thousand butterflies. These followed a color spectrum from red to blue to green.

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And here’s the same view, early the next morning:

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