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School of Landscape Architecture Wins Big at SF Flower and Garden Show


LAN 498/695 – Right to Left – Time Reuss, Jason Jeon, Erin Millard, Yuening Pu, Alyssa Irawan, Yasmine Farazian (Instructor)

Academy of Art University’s  School of Landscape Architecture won the silver medal at the 28th Annual San Francisco Flower and Garden Show! This year’s Garden Show theme was "Gardens Make the World Go Round” which dramatically ushered in beautiful gardens created by top West Coast designers. Among the very top garden designs was Academy of Art University’s exhibit “Life in the Balance.”


This thoughtful exhibit brought to life the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang; demonstrating the beauty of life while also exposing the harsh reality of current environmental issues. The message of the installation was to show that it is everyone’s responsibility, designers included, to face these devastating environmental issues head-on and to execute change.


The display was divided into two distinct spaces by a Chinese moongate. This beautifully crafted partition is a symbol of good fortune and prosperity in traditional Chinese gardens, however, this installation was purposely designed as an incomplete circle, symbolizing humanity’s good fortune is out of balance with the environment and stifled from coming around full circle.


On one side of the moongate, suspended stones hanging from thin filaments represented seeds that were suppressed from germination by the negative impact of waste mismanagement. A video that focused on overpopulation, industrialization and waste was projected on the back wall of the space to emphasize the negative effects of these factors on our surroundings. In this context, the suspended seed elements showed how life hangs in the balance only supported by delicate strings.


After passing through the grove of hanging stones, the moongate invites the viewer into a second space which opens to a line of suspended upside-down trees. Organically shaped cracked mirrors placed below the trees created a jarring effect and put the viewer’s reflection in the problem. Seeing oneself and a tree hanging from a thin tether suggests how fragile life can be.


Enclosing this space was a lush living wall which incorporateds an inferred shadow of the moongate on one side and a beautiful flowering cherry tree on the other. Moss growing up the walls and colliding into the cherry tree represent the environment overcoming obstacles, flourishing, life rebuilding and breaking borders.


The key to success for this beautiful exhibit lay in the collaborative spirit that was evident among the students of LAN 498 and LAN 695 from the very beginning of the semester. The students efficiently organized themselves, and with determination, hard workand smiles on their faces, they were able to bring a concept to life that is the talk of the show! 


Congratulations to School of Landscape Architecture students Fang Yu, Jason Jeon, Erin Millard, Yuening Pu and Xi Lu, School of Interior Architecture & Design students Alyssa Irawan and Haleh Rahmaniand School of Industrial Design student Tim Reuss.


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