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Meadows, clouds, and modernism

I am in California now for a visit, and thrilled to be soaking up the sun and the C vibe, which is totally unique and full of flavor. So for the next week, I’ll be visiting and posting about gardens, architecture, and design here. First up, I was happy to attend an event on Saturday afternoon as part of the Cultural Landscape Foundation‘s Garden Dialogue event series, in which private gardens and landscapes nationwide are opened to the public for intimate discussions with homeowners and landscape artists and designers. This is a wonderful idea, I think, as it offers a sneak peek at some outstanding (but private) gardens and the personalities that created them. And the architecture to go with it is pretty great too.

The event I attended was at a private residence in Malibu and featured prolific meadow gardens by John Greenlee, a California-based landscape designer, and author of the new American Meadow Gardens book. Greenlee believes that the meadow or prairie style of gardening and drought tolerant plants are a sustainable choice for California’s arid desert climate and proposes that traditional lawns be reduced to make way for easy care meadow gardens. Here are some images of John’s meadows,

meadow grasses soften the rigid lines of the exterior studio

The side entrance to the home

pathway winds up the hill

South facing facade employs traditional lawn

Meadow garden meets lawn in front entrance. I like the contrasts in textures, forms and heights here

Greenlee’s garden was also complimented by an installation by landscape artist, Andy Cao, principal of Cao/Perrot Studio out of Los Angeles and Paris who works with materials such as chicken wire, reflective rocks and crystals, and succulents to create dream spaces in the landscape. I have been looking at Andy’s work for a few years and I am interested in its ability to both integrate with and expand the experience of the landscape. His work is entirely beautiful as well. In this piece, Andy suspended cloud-like billows of chicken wire decorated with crystals across the home’s interior courtyard space at ceiling height. The space is transformed into a playful and ethereal outdoor focal point that compliments the billowing shapes and airiness of the meadow grasses. I am really interested in the dialogue created between the landscape design and art. To me, these are natural partners. What do you think?

installation view facing north

view from deck above

side view plus crystals

looking up

interactions with sky and sun

The billowing meadow grasses and the cloud installation manage to soften the rigid lines of the residence’s modern architecture, while at the same time integrating with the sun, sky, and sea. A perfect triad, I think.

Images by Allison Warren for Modern Plum.

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2 comments on “Meadows, clouds, and modernism

  1. carabrownstein
    June 16, 2012

    Reblogged this on Vague Magazine.

    • modernplum
      June 17, 2012

      Hello – thank you for the reblog on Meadows, clouds and modernism. I really like the ideas in your blog – its a great inspiration!

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