Worms and Flowers

Fake Plants ARE Artful

Posted in Sightseeing by Lzyjo on September 22, 2009

Yes, I said and I did mean it. This summer MOMA unveiled an inaccessible roof top garden made recycled and synthetic materials. The garden,  designed by New York-based landscape architect Ken Smith, is intended as art to be enjoyed by residents and workers cloistered overhead in nearby skyscrapers.

View from Warwick Hoel, Sixth Avenue and 54th Street (Photo: Peter Mauss/ESTO

The design was inspired by camouflage, not only the pattern, which happened to be photocopied from a skateboarder’s pants, but also from the definition of the word camouflage which suggests imitation, deception, and decoy. In other words things on the MOMA roof garden are not what they seem.

Close-up View of South Roof detail (Photo: Peter Mauss/ESTO)

I must say Smith did an admirable job of working with numerous the guidelines and limitations, including weight limits for the roof and a recommendation not to use living plants.  Using a relatively small budget and black and white gravel pre-purchased by the museum, Smith created an oasis, turning an expanse of green plastic and rubber coated grates into lush greenery, turning recycled crushed glass into tranquil ponds bordered by foam walls. It is all an optical illusion on a grand scale. For a full narrative of the project and a list of material sources check Smith’s entry on the American Society of Landscape Architect’s website. There are also many other green roof projects, with living plants!