Date awarded: 2003
Alex Schanzer's exhibit 'The Garden as an Art Form' won Bronze at the 2003 Ellerslie Flower show.
The Garden as an Art Form - Design brief
The imaginary clients for whom this space has been designed are a young couple in their 30's, without children and wanting an outdoor space in which to relax and unwind after a working day.The requirements of this couple are that the area be functional, easy to maintain and most importantly a creative space that incorporates their love of native and subtropical plants, with art in the garden. To this end, the area has been designed to not only fufil the functional requirements of a contemplative space, but to be an original piece of artwork in its own right.
Natural products have been utilised such as Macrocarpa timber in the surronding walls, raised planters and boardwalk, Bombay bluestone as the paving medium and natural rock in the construction of the water feature. The variety of plant species utilised have been purposely kept to a minimum and used mass planted,in order to create visual impact. This has been achieved by the drifts of subtle colour in combination with the contrasting foliage textures of the wonderful divaricating species used, contrasted with the broad leaves of the hemerocallis and bromeliads. The organic shapes and patterns created by the plantings have been inspired by the traditional motifs used in Maori carving and a variety of small schist chip has been utilised to fill the negative space in the pattern. These factors all combine to create a uniquely kiwi identity to this garden space.
Art has been introduced into the garden through other aspects also, such as the original handpainted screen , situated within the paved area. The influences of Burle Marx have been a major factor in the desire to incorporate stone and steel - the result being the sculputural Light towers flanking the entrance to the boardwalk. Their's is a dual function - not only to give light to highlight the boardwalk but also as contemporary pieces of garden sculpture. The use of steel also connects with the kiwi identity - be it in the corrugated form (as in the inset panels) or in the modern stainless feel.
Form, texture and colour - all important aspects of this design, have come together to create a space that not only offers its imaginary occupants an area in which to relax to the soothing background sounds emanating from the water feature, but also one which fufils all the stated requirements of the design brief.